In East Dallas, Hoping the "Tablet Claw" is the First Crop on a Million-Dollar Idea Farm

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The Tablet Claw: coming to a meeting room near you?
Those ideas, the ones you can't shake and would love to invent, the ones you imagine would make a cool million in an instant -- they're the ones Buddy DiFonzo and Mike Solow are looking for. Friends from their software sales jobs, they started a company called Idea Harvest, which matches idea people with designers and manufacturers, streamlining the inventing process and landing them a profit based on clients' success.

Their inaugural project is an idea of their own: the Tablet Claw. Less than a year ago, DiFonzo sat in the crowd at a company conference when the speaker fumbled and dropped the iPad he was using to deliver the presentation. "It flew out of his hand," DiFonzo says. That's when he realized that tablets are slippery as hell, and there's an uncornered market to making them graspable.

He texted Solow to discuss the idea over lunch. They were both in. DiFonzo researched currently available products that would make it easier to grip the device during a presentation. There was stuff out there, but it was "bulky," "nerdy," "not iPad cool." They imagine their product could be used by pharmaceutical salespeople, anyone delivering a presentation, or by casual users.

"This is our final prototype," DiFonzo says, fiddling with the device that clips to two sides of a tablet and has a rotating grip ring and a kickstand. They estimate that they've spent $5-6,000 on the product up to this point. The next step will be manufacturing and selling it, so they started a Kickstarter page and are talking to private investors to secure funding. The plan is to create and sell 100,000 products in the first round of manufacturing. To that end, they're negotiating corporate deals and designing an e-commerce site planned to launch by the end of the month.

"If we could sell 10,000 to 20,000 [products], as a company, we would be able to go back and make more of them," Solow said.

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Mike Solow, left, and Buddy DiFonzo work on plans for the Tablet Claw in Solow's home office.
For now, both DiFonzo and Solow have full-time jobs. "We're quota-carrying sales reps," DiFonzo says. They work on Idea Harvest and the Tablet Claw on nights and weekends in Solow's East Dallas home office. The exit strategy from their day jobs depends on how quickly the company and the Tablet Claw catch on.

So far, they have four Idea Harvest clients; they can't talk about specifics since they've signed non-disclosure agreements with each of them. They say the potential inventions include an infant care product, something sports-related, and a product that will be useful to the restaurant industry.

Million-Dollar Idea Broker: Would make a decent business card, wouldn't it?

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26 comments
paulwesley75
paulwesley75

I know Buddy and Mike personally, they are both great guys. The Tablet Claw is a great product and they have done a great job with it. I hope Idea Harvest and Tablet Claw works out for them in the long run! 

john.p.porter2012
john.p.porter2012

The Tablet Claw looks really cool! Im going to need to get one!

paige_parker41990
paige_parker41990

Just Stumbled apon this article and I noticed how different the Tablet Claw actually looks today. These guys did a good job back then but now its much better!

Needeegal4u
Needeegal4u

Hi, I want one, please let me know how much and where can I get one.

Needeegal4u@yahoo.com

Charley
Charley

Put me down for one...

Carol
Carol

I love the Tablet Claw.  If you want to see a video about Tablet Claw go to www. kickstarter.com/tabletclaw  be a backer.  You can order a first run Teblet Claw.

pak152
pak152

hopefully they will give it away rather than become victims of corporate greed.

secretmanofagent
secretmanofagent

They do realize that there are quite a few of these types available on Amazon, right? 

it doesn't really look like they put any thought into the ergonomics of the grip ring, either.  

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

There are no bad products, only bad price points

Coleman
Coleman

I actually think it's a pretty good idea, just needs to be refined and de-ugly'd.

Albert
Albert

Just looking at it makes me angry.

John_McKee
John_McKee

Exactly what about that is "iPad cool"? It looks cheap, uncomfortable and overly complicated and nothing about that is "iPad cool".

cp
cp

I read "tablet claw" and my brain immediately went to CueCat.....

ThreeOranges
ThreeOranges

The grip also needs to collapse flat for storage. If at any point in the future you create a model that works like that, I expect to be paid a billion dollars.

Tom L (No, Not That L)
Tom L (No, Not That L)

Wow! I have an iPad and I'm going to run right out and buy one of these as soon as they're available!

Not.

I hate to break it to you guys, but you ain't even the first to realize the iPad can be a wee bit slippery. Seriously, just google "iPad case". There's a million different types. I personally bought a rubbery soft-plastic case that's easy to hold onto. Problem solved much more elegantly than with "the claw".

DallasJarrod
DallasJarrod

Brilliant idea, guys. I have ideas alllllll the time. Leslie, thanks for reporting on this. Information like this is especially valuable during the Great Recession.

Leesert
Leesert

Ha, I just got an idea how to make this ten times better. Adobe time!  

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

I feel like this post is missing a "In my day..." type intro.

TimCov
TimCov

He said recession, not depression.

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