As part of our ongoing video series here at AON Invent, the next video in this sequence is “The Origin of AON Invent, A Company That Helps Inventors.” Why did AON Invent even come into existence? How do we help the inventor? You can read through the transcript of the video below.
LR: Hello, everyone. This is Larry Robertson with AON Invent.
AB: And Andrew Bojie with All Product Design.
LR: We want to explain to the inquiring minds out there why we launched AON Invent and what was the motivation behind this business launch.
All of us involved in this company have been involved in previous capacities in the consumer products industry, retail industry for a long, long time and had been certainly involved in hundreds and even thousands of new product launches, vetting processes, and product development. Andrew and I talked last year, and he shared a story with me–his experience has really connected the dots with me in terms of this opportunity. Andrew explain.
AB: I really go back to one of the first inventors that I worked with. He has an exceptional product. A lot of people think they have a million dollar idea. This idea will change the category. And when this gentleman approached me about helping his product go to market, I jumped at the opportunity to help him. I did a lot of the work pro bono. I just believed in his product. And I really thought this is going to be an easy deal. But this is my first attempt to help an inventor go to market.
We worked on where the design needed to be and started hitting up a couple of companies, and I was amazed how we hit walls everywhere we went. How people would try to take advantage, how people would give offers that were completely unrealistic, and still to this day that inventor hasn’t managed to get that product to market. And that was the inspiration for finding out if there’s a better way to do this.
Since that time, All Product Design have worked with a myriad of different inventors helping them get their product developed. And it just kept grinding on me that all of these inventors that we’ve helped, not one of them yet has made it to market. I was starting to feel that All Product Design was, rather than helping people, was part of the problem. Because the problem is that what we are doing is helping them get a prototype and within that area is a lot of cost. But we’re not really solving the problem. We’re not actually getting them closer to getting their product sold.
So what I did, I brought my team together at All Product Design and I said, “Here’s the deal. Inventors represent about 10% of our workload and they’re always problematic because there’s lot of idiosyncrasies with these different inventions and everyone’s in a whole different area. So there’s always a greater cost to us to work with an inventor. And I said, “It’s only 10% of our business. We’ve got good business working with other CPG companies developing products with them directly. The sensible thing for us to do is to walk away from the inventors and say, ‘We’re not going to do this anymore.'”
And that made sense. I said, “But you know what? We’re going to do the opposite. We’re going to create a model that actually benefits the inventor.” And that’s where Larry came in. Larry at that time was mentoring me in completely unrelated thing, and I started sharing the vision that I had. And with Larry’s vast experience with retailers and with taking products to market, it seemed like a match made in heaven.
LR: And the ironic thing is, as I shared with Andrew, some other associates and I had talked about this business model back in the mid ’90s. And every time it came up, it ended with us almost banging our heads against the wall saying, “It’s impossible. It’s impossible to facilitate product development and innovation with individual inventors and even break even with a model that makes sense for them and makes sense for the business, the purveyor of services.
And that’s because of the generally arduous task of teaching the disciplines, the sciences, the industry nuances behind every step of the way. And that’s where the light came on, I think, for both of us, where we realized that we need to quit focusing on the inventor, focus on the invention. Separate the wheat from the chaff as early as possible.
For everyone’s sake. Especially the inventor in that case.
And often times that means telling people what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear, and doing that in a very compassionate way. When you go to our website, the first thing you will find under services in Step 1 is a way, a method of vetting your own ideas. There’s no cost to that.
It’s not a pleasant experience for us when we have inventors go to our website, subscribe to our services, and then we find out that they’re new innovation is on sale at amazon.com or walmart.com or being sold in some little boutique on ebay. Because the window is closed at that point. So we want to help people but we want that help to be substantive.
AB: Right? Absolutely.
LR: I think, to me, the way we’ve come full circle is now that the inventor that I first mentioned to you, David, we’re able now to bring him back into the mix and say, “David, we weren’t able to do what we wanted to do before, because the whole model that we were trying to take your product to market with was flawed. We tried to help you in the direction you were going. With AON, we now have a system that can rightfully work for you.”
AB: And I’m excited, because I believe that here very soon we’re going to be closing that deal for him. And indeed, we’re going to changing that category. And that will be one of many stories that you’re going to hear, so stay tuned for that.
LR: We appreciate all of the inquiries that come in, the phone calls, the emails. Send us your questions and we’ll address them specifically on future blogs. And we appreciate you following AON Invent on Facebook very much. We’ll see you again soon. Thank you.