Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jamie Wallace of Childproof Straw Talks about Her Startup

How did come up with the idea for a childproof straw?

I have three toddlers! They all love yogurt and due to lack of time, I started stabbing a straw straight through the top of the yogurt container! It worked great but I got sick of the spills all over the house from the straw falling out . Same problem with juice boxes, milk cartons, drinking cups… The concept hit me out of nowhere and I grabbed some “tools” around the house and built a straw with offshoots. The addition goes through the top (or lid) and the offshoots prevent removal!

Have you done any patent searches on it?

We’ve checked and there’s no prior art. We have a provisional application filed.

How are you pursuing the market?

We started a survey to get feedback from the market. It’s went to 29 states and 5 countries in just four days. It’s overwhelmingly positive. My goal is to get it to all fifty states. This helps validate the market.

What’s the next step?

We plan to license the technology to the food/drink companies such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft, General Mills, major straw manufacturers and more. We want “The Childproof Straw” or “Secure Straw” to be on every super market shelf, served with every child drink, and an addition to Juice or Milk cartons, pouches, boxes…

How is that going?

It takes time to work your way through the system at these large companies. Also, we have found that typically the manufacturing is ending up in China.

You may want to start with smaller, local companies to build up a base.
I agree, we are going to start focusing more of our energy that direction going forward.

What are some of the interesting feedbacks you’ve received from the survey so far?

People have been overwhelmingly excited about the idea. The product seems like a no-brainer to parents. We literally have hundreds of comments on why they like it. Here are some of my favorites!

“I could see this straw being handy for the elderly and for use in hospitals. I would not limit your marketing solely on small children.” Cedar park, TX

“Why not just replace the stupid straws on the market now with the smarter straw described here!” Pacifica,CA

“This is the kind of thing that would make a restaurant or certain brand of drink stand out above competitors. This is something moms would recommend by word of mouth as quickly as possible! "...and they even have these amazing kid friendly...!" Austin, TX

“Solves a very common child related dilemma in a seemingly easy and inexpensive way.” Vienna, VA

“My son has speech problems and is supposed to use straws instead of sippy's (for the muscles around his mouth), but I am so tired of all the spills. Thanks!” Monroe, OH

Best regards
Hall T.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Michael Agustin and Tommy Tran of Gendai Games Talk about their new product GameSalad

How did you come up with the idea for GameSalad?

The idea behind GameSalad is to give people the ability to make their own games. It’s very easy to use. It’s a drag and drop interface. We have a social community and it’s easy to embed the game into other programs such as Facebook or your own blog.

Is it up and running now?

Parts of it. We are currently in closed alpha but all the tools are there to make your own games.

What kind of games can people make?

Right now, we focus on 2D games. We have developed our own engine and plug-in. We chose to go with our own plug-in rather than Flash so we can also support the iPhone. With our engine, people can make their games once and play them in a Web browser or iPhone.

How do you charge for it?

We will sell premium games through micro-payements, similar to how the App Store and the xBox360 charges $0.25 to a $1 to play a full game. For free games, we plan to make additional money with advertising. We will offer a free creation tools for beginning game designers and a pro version that lets people make games for the iPhone as well.

When will you start charging?

Sometime at the end of Q2, 2009. We also plan to make our games from the tool and sell them ready to run, over the iPhone App Store. By making our games we plan to make additional revenue and we’ll learn how to improve the tool itself.

How do find the local gaming community?

Austin has a pretty big industry, and developers here are quite helpful.

What platform does it run on?

The game engine runs as a plugin in Web browsers on all platforms. The tool will be initially Mac-based because there are statistically more designers on the Macintosh. We also like the tools on the Mac such as Xcode and Cocoa, which allow us to build rapidly and provide a polished interface.

Can we hear your Fastpitch?

Gendai Games is a game creation for the rest of us. The games market is over $2.25B worldwide with over 200M users there are more players online than all the video game consoles combined. For the long tail of game developers, it is difficult to create and publish their own works. Gendai Games is an open platform for user-created games that are playable on mobile platforms and the web. Non-programmers including designers and graphics artists make up the majority of game developers. Our tool lets them embed their game on the web and mobile phone in the same way that YouTube can be embedded. The company will use micro transactions to charge for game playing. The product is in alpha and is under evaluation by game companies like Disney, Sony, and Electronic Arts.

Best regards,
Hall T.