Category Archives: Edison Nation

Video Shorts from the Amazon Inventions Tour

Did you miss the Amazon Inventions Tour in Atlanta?

The Amazon Inventions Tour connected innovators to Edison Nation and Amazon

You’re not out of luck. For one thing, Amazon was so pleased with the success of the Amazon Inventions Tour — held September 25–26 in Atlanta — that they’re considering future tour stops.

And for another, Amazon has some video shorts from the speaker series to share with you. Watch to discover new insights about patents, prototyping, fundraising, crowdsourcing, legal issues, branding and licensing, selling, marketing, and going global with your invention idea at Amazon. You’ll also hear success stories from company founders and see a few familiar faces (hint: Louis Foreman, Eric Huber and Kristi Gorinas all gave fabulous presentations!)

Stay tuned to for updates on our plans for 2016!

Tune in to Watch the Pilot Episode of Celebrity Inc.!

Introducing Celebrity Inc. with Mel B

Edison Nation’s promise to our community is to provide your ideas with the most opportunities to reach their greatest potential.

Brand Promise

As many of you are aware, Edison Nation was born from the television series Everyday Edisons. About a year ago, we announced that we were working on a new strategy for TV.

We’re excited to share that we’ll soon be testing out life in primetime on the Pop network. The pilot episode of Celebrity Inc is set to air on Monday, November 30 at 9pm ET/PT.

Here’s the official press release issued by Pop:


Follow Her Journey from Pitch to Production, Culminating in an EVINE Live Sale of Her Product on “Cyber Monday,” Immediately Following the Television Special

Mel B reviews an inventor's product pitch

LOS ANGELES, CA – November 18, 2015 – Pop takes viewers inside the multi-billion dollar industry of celebrity endorsements in CELEBRITY INC., a one hour television special highlighting how stars extend their relationship and credibility with audiences to build businesses and connect their personal brands with products they love.

Premiering on Monday, November 30 at 9:00 p.m., ET/PT, CELEBRITY INC. stars world renowned entertainer Mel B as she sets her sights on the business world and she meets with aspiring inventors to create, market and sell a self-endorsed product. A sneak peek of CELEBRITY INC. is available at:

In CELEBRITY INC., Mel B works closely with Edison Nation, an innovation marketplace that connects great ideas to companies and brands. Together, they will review and select a new product to launch that aligns with the music entertainer’s personal brand. The winning selection will be revealed during the special and then sold on “Cyber Monday” on TV and online on EVINE Live immediately following Pop’s television premiere.

“I am so excited for my fans to see this new and exciting venture in ‘Celebrity Inc.,’” said Mel B. “It’s been an absolute thrill to partner on the launch of a new product that reflects my interests and lifestyle.”

“Celebrity-branded products are a multi-billion dollar business and in our hyper-connected world, more culturally relevant than ever,” said Paul Adler, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and Development, Pop. “Our television special with Mel B will give viewers a fascinating first-hand look at how celebrity endorsed products are created from their inception to launch.”

If Celebrity Inc. is picked up for a full season, we’ll soon be working with more celebrities to pair innovative products for their brands, which means more opportunities for YOU at Edison Nation!

Be sure to tune in and check it out on Monday, 11/30, and we’ll continue to keep you posted on next steps for this and other opportunities!

Visit and use the channel finder at the bottom of the page. 

InvENtor Spotlight: A Q&A with David Pope


For our November Inventor Spotlight, we’re highlighting David Pope! David has been an active Edison Nation member and Insider since 2013!

We wanted to get to know David a bit better to learn about his background and his EN experiences so far…

Where is your hometown?

Dunn, North Carolina. Interstate I-95 runs right beside it.

Where do you currently reside?

At the current moment, I am about two miles away from where I was raised. I am in the process of building a new house right beside my first home so I can help keep a better eye on my parents.

What is your professional background?

I am like a Jack of all trades, a farmer, a carpenter, a small engine and diesel mechanic, an equipment operator, a machinist and manufacturer…I’ve done a little bit of everything.

How did you initially hear about Edison Nation?

I started watching Shark Tank and I noticed Daymond John – I really liked what he had to say and how he carried himself. I wanted to learn more about him so I started doing research and that is when I came across Edison Nation.

Even with all the research I did on Edison Nation, it still took me nine months to submit my first idea. Over the years of working on inventions and ideas, I had spent a ton of money. I have had some bad dealings with companies so I didn’t trust anyone.

What sold me on the idea to submit to Edison Nation was Fox News. If it had not been for Fox News I would not be here today. It’s the only news media I trust!

Have you ever collaborated with another inventor(s) on a project? If so, how was that experience for you?

Yes, I have. It was not bad, but it was not good either. The saying that “nobody knows your invention better than you do” is true!

I found that detail and communications is very important and being honest sure goes along way.

What are some general industry trends you have noticed recently?

The explosion in technology and the high cost of getting a product on the market today are incredible.

Do you find that invention ideas come to you or do you have to go after them?

After being raised on a farm, I can say ideas come to me. I was always looking to make my job easier.

I have been blessed with the background and jobs I have had and I am always trying to learn more. I feel this has help me over the years with invention ideas.

What advice would you tell new members of the community?

Do not question if you are at the right company. You are at the right company at Edison Nation – never think twice.

Do not hesitate to ask questions because you’ve got the best of both worlds: the Edison Nation team and the Edison Nation community, and both are awesome!

I would advise against trying to create your own start-up and manufacturing a product on your own. It’s the hardest thing I ever did in life.

I will advise against spending the amount of money I have – roughly around a half million over the course of 35 plus years – but all still may not be lost, I am in the Open Search with a G5 on one of those ideas I have worked on all is still good for right now! Talk about patience! If this particular idea makes it to G8, it would not surprise me if it takes another four years to accomplish.

I like the KISS formula: “Keep It Simple Stupid.” If you keep this in mind you will have a better chance of success.

You’re quite active on the “Inspirational Quotes” forum thread – what is your favorite inventing quote?

My favorite inventing quote would be the quote I came up with:

“Those who look for a different tree to climb every day in life are the ones that are successful in life.”

I love all of the quotes – each and every one – but this one hits home to me.

What inspired you to start inventing?

I love looking at the engineering side of things: How does it work? How is it designed? I was raised on a farm and my father did carpenter work and built houses.

When did you come up with your first great idea?

When I was 14-years-old, I was working on a tractor and I thought of a way that would make my job easier.

You have been an EN member since 2013, can you provide us with some details around your experiences and journey to date?

After years of working with other companies, EN is to me the best place in the world to be working with as an inventor. As I said before, you got the best of both worlds here.

Any additional details you’d like to share?

As an inventor, a lot of my ideas has been focused on the military. As we celebrate Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving Day this month, I would like to take the time to say “Thank You” to all the men and women who have helped protect us from our enemies. To those who are serving abroad and those who are in uniform here at home I thank you. Without you we could not do what we do today. I love you and my heart goes out to you and your families.

Pope & Family

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have you ever thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if…”?

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We exist to get product ideas out of your head and onto retail shelves, all at no risk to you.

Licensing Deal for Anthony Lytle with United Sales & Marketing!

Blog-Licensing-LytleAnthony “Tony” Lytle is a self-proclaimed family man with a wife, three children and four grandchildren.

Tony Lytle #6

He’d do anything for his family. So when his daughter came to him after her dog almost died from dehydration after knocking his water bowl over, he immediately started brainstorming to find a solution so this would never happen to a dog again. Soon afterwards, the Doggie Fountain was born.

But before we jump into the history of the product, let’s learn a bit more about Tony…

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Tony moved a bit during his childhood, but now resides in Larwill, Indiana, 30 miles from where he spent most of his childhood. At 14, he started working as a busboy and dishwasher in a restaurant and eventually became a cook.

“You wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but I [still] love to cook and bake.”

He met his wife at a restaurant they worked at together in 1978. About 12 years ago, he and his wife bought about 20 acres of wooded land and built their current home.

When asked about his background, Tony does not consider himself a “professional.” Working in construction since 1981, Tony became a Millwright and Welder. Tony recently celebrated his 10-year anniversary owning and operating his own fabrication and welding shop.
Tony Lytle #5

Tony has said that ideas often find him versus the other way around.

“I will see something that I don’t like, so I will fix the problem.”

That being said, based on his experiences, getting a licensing deal on your own is very difficult, “It’s hard, expensive and futile at best. I’ve tried the “cold calling” with no results.”

Tony advises innovators looking to secure a licensing deal of their own to get help from an innovation company versus trying to go it alone.

That brings us back to the Doggie Fountain…

Tony’s daughter had a dog named Pacey, who, as many dogs do, had a bad habit of knocking over his water bowl. On a hot August day, between work and college classes, Tony’s daughter returned home to check in on Pacey and found him severely dehydrated after emptying his water bowl. She immediately went to her father to see if he could come up with an idea so her dog would have access to water all the time when he was outside. Tony began brainstorming…

First, he thought of ways to prevent the bowl from being overturned – fill a large basin with enough water to provide weight so the bowl could not flip over. This did not work because the water would get hot and dirty over time.

He went to a local Tractor Supply Store to get some supplies, and before leaving, saw the drinking fountain.

“As I started walking away, I turned and looked back at the drinking fountain and thought, if I can make a smaller fountain and train a dog to use it…well, that would solve my daughter’s problem.”

He made her the first Doggie Fountain and she trained her dog to use it. After getting some positive feedback from friends and family, Tony decided to pursue commercializing it. He completed a patent search and filed for a full utility patent in 2007, receiving it in 2010.

Tony Lytle #3

Tony scoured the internet looking for possible companies to help him bring his Doggie Fountain to life – he even submitted it to a sponsored search at Edison Nation and got to Stage 7, but it was not selected by the sponsor. He took it back and eventually found a home for it with Quirky.

“Quirky was a very good experience… I had sent them an application a few years prior but didn’t get selected. And then, when I ended my contract with A.P.I., I tried again. This time, I got the necessary votes and moved onto the “Live Evaluation” process. It was unanimous. They all just loved it.”

This was in December of 2013. During the design process, Tony remained involved with the Quirky team. By Christmas of 2014, Quirky had product for sale on their site as the Pawcet.

Tony Lytle #4

Each time new stock came in, it sold out in a matter of days. Unfortunately, with recent events at Quirky, Tony was left with a product and no one to manufacture it. He knew he had a good product and was still getting requests from potential buyers for product. It was then that he turned to Edison Nation.

Edison Nation Timeline:

June 2015:  The Edison Nation team was introduced to contacts at United Sales & Marketing (USM). Tony opted the idea into Edison Nation’s Open Search.

July:  Once Tony had received rights to his intellectual property back from Quirky, a formal presentation was made to the USM team who immediately expressed strong interest in the product.

August:  Agreement terms were sent to USM along with samples of the Doggie Fountain for review.

September:  USM completed thorough due diligence on the product with their factory. In fact, the main contact at USM, along with his business partner traveled to meet with the Edison Nation team in Atlanta during the Amazon Inventions Tour to continue discussions.

October:  USM signed the licensing deal!

United Sales & Marketing has expertise within both the pet industry, as well as with big box stores. They have 20-30 years of professional relationships which we expect to yield significant opportunities both domestically and internationally for distribution.

We are very excited to see what the new iteration of the Doggie Fountain will look like. Stay tuned to the EN blog for an update once it is available for sale!

Congratulations Tony!

Have you ever thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if…”?

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We exist to get product ideas out of your head and onto retail shelves, all at no risk to you.

Don’t break the mold! A behind-the-scenes look into turning a mold into a TV-ready product

While 3D printing is great, when we need to make MANY duplicates of a product it makes more sense to create a mold and pour casts of the product instead.

This way, we can make as many as we like!

Edison Nation’s “As Seen on TV” product designers have been busy beavers in the workshop lately making prototypes to be used for filming in upcoming TV commercials.

Here’s a little behind-the-scenes peek at the process behind molding and casting one of our recent projects:

Greased lighting

Greased Lightning

The two halves of the mold (shown above) are greased up with a special lubricant called “mold release”. This stuff makes it a whole lot easier to pull the finished product out of the mold at the end of the process.

Mix it up

Mix It Up

The liquid rubber that we will be pouring into the mold is comprised of two components that need to be mixed very precisely. We measured the correct amount of Part A by weight, then took some time slowly adding pigment to get the color right before adding Part B. Now, we mix and the clock starts ticking! We will only have about 5 minutes to work before it starts to harden. Talk about stress on the job!

Get outta here, bubbles, you’re not welcome here

Get outta here bubbles

One of the keys to a perfect pour is having absolutely no air bubbles in the mixture. So, the whole container of liquid rubber goes into a vacuum chamber for about a minute as we watch bubbles rise up to the top and pop. Good riddance!

Bottom’s up!

Bottoms up

Now that we went through so much trouble getting rid of those darn bubbles, we want to make sure that there’s NO introducing new bubbles to the mixture. So, instead of pouring into our mold from the top, we rigged up a syringe and tube so we could fill the mold from the bottom. This way, air will push up and out the top of the mold as it fills, rather than big air pockets getting trapped at the bottom. We poured the rubber into the syringe, then slowly pushed it through the tube and into the mold cavity.

Pressure’s on

Pressure is on

Once the mold’s cavity is completely full, the whole thing goes into a pressure chamber at about 30 psi while the material hardens over the course of 4-5 hours. The air pressure means any remaining air bubbles inside will implode. Did I mention we don’t want ANY air in there?

Don’t break the molds!

Don't break the mold

Opening up the two halves of the mold turned out to be the hardest part of the whole process, but with some shims, an air-gun and a flathead screwdriver, we got it!

We made a total of 15 casts before shipping them off to the production set.

Look for these shining stars on TV soon! If you do, you’ll now know a little bit of the magic that happens behind the iconic ASOTV brand.

Have you ever thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if…”?

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We exist to get product ideas out of your head and onto retail shelves, all at no risk to you.



Halloween Costumes: Literal vs Creative Interpretations

In honor of Halloween, let’s talk about literal and creative executions. Which is more impressive: The ability to directly represent the iconic character, or the ability to twist said character into a witty pun?

Today, you get to decide: Who wore it better? Enter your votes to see which costumes are leading the polls!

  1. Gingerbread Man


Which is more impressive?

2. Serial Killer

hannibalWendigoCereal Killer

Which is more impressive?

3. Han Solo as a Nerf Herder

Han SoloNerf Herder

Han 'Solo"

Which is more impressive?

4. Bag of M&M’s


Which is more impressive?


InvENtor Spotlight: A Q&A with Kim Lavalle



For our October Inventor Spotlight, we’re highlighting Kim Lavalle! Kim
has been an active Edison Nation member and
Insider since 2012!

We wanted to get to know Kim a bit better to learn about her background
and her EN experiences so far…

Where is your hometown?

Houston, Texas. It was a much smaller and friendlier town back then.

Where do you currently reside?

Two blocks from where I grew up! Guess I don’t get out much…  

I am currently plotting my escape to greener and calmer pastures, however. Way too many people around here, and the traffic is a booger to contend with. Life’s too short for that.

What is your professional background?

I worked in banking for 15 years, in accounting and as a teller. I wasn’t making much, so I decided to go to Nursing School. I graduated with a BSN and worked as a RN until four years ago when I started working for a Medical Device company. Now I’m in Sales for that company. Way outta my comfort zone at times!!  

I travel around Texas and parts of Louisiana regularly for work, so my EN and FB buddies keep me company on the road. But, I keep my license up and I can still count money really fast, so I do have a backup plan if this gig doesn’t work out.

How did you initially hear about Edison Nation?

I’m pretty sure it was through the Houston Inventors Association. I talked to a friend about an idea I had, and he had been a member of HIA.  I started going to their meetings and I think I first heard EN mentioned there.  I was really happy to find it!

Have you ever collaborated with another inventor(s) on a project? If so, how was that experience for you?

I’ve worked with John Vilardi a time or two. He’s very easy to work with, and he does great work.

I have a few projects that I would like to collaborate on as they are outside of my expertise, but just haven’t found the right people yet. Maybe we need an “Inventor”!  :)

What are some general industry trends you have noticed recently?

Things are taking off so fast in all directions…technology is out of control! It’s very hard for me to keep up as I didn’t grow up with computers.  

I’ve also noticed that products are being designed for very specific issues; for instance, many kitchen items perform only one function. I don’t really need a rice cooker – I have a pan with a lid that works just fine. But I do like the taco holders; they are most helpful!

Decadence also seems to be in vogue now…luxury items (the crazier the better), booze, sweets and coffee!  

Lots of copycat items, too…

Do you find that invention ideas come to you or do you have to go after them?

A little of both. Sometimes I can think of something for a specific search that comes out, but mostly they just come to me. I usually come up with something brilliant the day after the search closes!  

I have a notebook with ideas for products and businesses, along with a bigger notebook that’s actually a repository for scraps of paper with song ideas and songs I’ve written. I don’t write music, though, so that has slowed me down a tad.

What advice would you tell others hoping to score a licensing deal?

Go slow!!!  

Be patient!!!  

Read and learn everything you can before you do anything!!!  

And those things are so difficult to do…

When you first start out you want it NOW and you just can’t wait, but if you do things the right way, you can save a lot of time, money and heartache. Nothing like finding out that your invention is already being sold some place. What? How did they know? I just thought of that… Better to find out before you sink a boatload of cash into a patent and prototypes, plus the time and energy lost on the endeavor.

It’s also imperative to be impartial and objective when evaluating your ideas. You may have a great idea, but if no one will buy it because it is way too late or too early for the marketplace, then it’s not worth much. For example, no one would probably buy a cotton gin today, but Eli Whitney sold plenty of them around a century ago. And look at all the stuff that Tesla came up with that were way too far out there at the time, but now they make sense.

What are some other fun facts about yourself that you’d like to share with the EN community?
I’m proud to be a 6th Generation Texan, and I love exploring and learning about my state. I have two awesome sons and five beautiful grandchildren.

WP_20150829_008 - Resized

I was very athletic growing up; ballet, gymnastics, snow skiing, horseback riding, and with one of my brothers, general constant motion and hyperactivity – my poor mom!  

WP_20150329_004 - Resized

We spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ on five acres in what is now the middle of Houston. It was partly wooded and like being in the country. My grandfather farmed some of it, so we ate well. My other grandparents had a log cabin in the mountains of Colorado to escape the heat. I spent most of my time there at the livery stable, just to be around the horses. I love animals and have always had dogs and cats.  

My great grandmother taught me to sew, embroider and crochet. I recently learned to needlepoint, which I really enjoy. I’ve also been in a Bible study for the past nine years.  I’m interested in taking more art lessons and doing some genealogy tracing.

What inspired you to start inventing?

An idea came to me about seven years ago; I was half asleep and it involved something that was being discussed on the radio (it’s still being mulled over in my mind). Ever since then, I started looking at things differently. I used to just accept things at face value, but now I’m much more curious about how things work. I want to come up with solutions instead of just acknowledging that something bugs me and not trying to fix it.

When did you come up with your first great idea?

As for a product, see above. In general, I’m a great idea person. I’ve been coming up with ideas forever, so I couldn’t tell you one in particular.  I’m pretty creative and I love to design things, so that helps.

You have been an EN member since 2012, can you provide us with some details around your experiences and journey to date?

My first submission went to G6 and sat there for the longest time – like nine months or so before it got the boot. Since then, it’s been a bloodbath. Red just covers my page!  

I will admit that I usually don’t do as much due diligence as I should.  I work best under pressure, so I am often sliding in under the submission wire when I think of something last minute. I just don’t have the time to devote to it then.  I could get a lot done if I didn’t have to work!

Any additional details you’d like to share?

I have a family that is chock-full of artists and creative-type folks.  As my brother said in a resume, “Mom was a ballerina and Dad was a bull rider. With a gene pool like that, crazy things can happen!”

Happy inventing!

Have you ever thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if…”?

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We exist to get product ideas out of your head and onto retail shelves, all at no risk to you.

From G1-G8: What happens in Stage 7, the Finalist stage?

Blog-G7You’ve done it. You’ve hurtled over Stage 4, flew by Stage 5 and managed to beat the odds during Intellectual Property review in Stage 6…you’re there…you’re at Stage 7!

As you know, Stage 7 is the final stage of the Edison Nation Eight-Stage Review Process. Passing through this stage means you are a finalist and your idea will be presented to the search sponsor – this is also known as becoming a “G7.” Getting to this stage in and of itself is an accomplishment, but what happens now? What really happens behind the walls of “The Waiting Room”? This post takes you through the elusive Presentation process.

Once an idea reaches Stage 7 and is deemed a “finalist”, the real work begins. At this Stage all final discussions are conducted around the submission. Our team reviews the Intellectual Property search results, evaluating that while YES it did clear through IP Stage, does it offer the breadth of protection that sponsor may need to move it forward to market? We also evaluate all communication with the sponsor, ensuring that what will move forward to a G7 meets all their specified criteria for the search.

Our objective is to typically give the benefit of the doubt to submissions at this stage, with a clearly documented, ready-to-explain position on the item IF we have any hesitations about its potential or it being an exact fit for the sponsor. It then moves to G7 and is added into a custom-built presentation for the search sponsor.

To answer your question, yes, it is more than just putting a PowerPoint deck together. Just ask our resident presentation guru, Scott Dromms…

The objective of our team for every presentation we go into is to have done the due diligence about the industry and our partner’s place in the industry, so we come in and demonstrate an expert’s awareness of the business. Will we know more than the partner who lives and breathes that specific industry day in/day out? Certainly not, but coming in and demonstrating the research and due diligence put into preparing to “be” an expert on their behalf is essential to our success.

I often like to have some obscure fact about the category that the sponsor works within, and share that information during the presentation. One example is when we met with the team at Miss America. Before the presentation began, we discussed the actual historical origin of what we today know as the Miss America Pageant. For you trivia buffs out there, the pageant was created when business leaders in a small New Jersey community created the “Fall Frolic of 1920” to extend the tourism season past the Labor Day weekend in their community.

In another presentation we spoke about the number of US households that have dogs. In case you were wondering, 83.3MM dogs are owned in the US, in about 47 percent of US households, and 70 percent of those homes have one dog, 20 percent have 2 dogs, and 10 percent own three or more dogs.

Discussing these types of facts and tidbits of information can also help open the room up a little. We always stress to our partners this is an open dialogue with a more informal atmosphere. We want it to be an innovation session, more than a presentation. The goal is to have them with an open mind and be ready to be creative, as we will have tried to prepare ourselves for any and all questions, concerns, issues, etc. that could be raised during the meeting.

In the end, every ounce of effort we put into a presentation is focused on one thing – to shine the best light possible on those innovative ideas generated by our amazing community of innovators. We try to have ourselves positioned multiple steps ahead of where the conversation “may” go, and have definitive, knowledgeable answers that best position your ideas for success!

So, what really goes on before, during and after a presentation? Now’s your chance to find out…


Each idea is researched thoroughly prior to presentation. We start with information gathered during the review process – potential competitors, manufacturing hurdles, intellectual property challenges, etc. – and then, we go further. We become true subject matter experts not only on your idea, but how your idea will meet the needs of the sponsor, so during the presentation, we are prepared to answer any of their questions. This is all done to give your idea the best possible chance for licensing success.

Presentation day:

The location of each innovation search presentation varies based on the search sponsor – some take place within the Edison Nation offices, while others take place at the sponsor’s headquarters and some are even done via video conference. The Edison Nation team does their best to accommodate the needs of our partners.

The audience for each presentation also varies company by company. Depending on the size of the company, the presentation can be given directly to the CEO or it can be given to an entire team comprised of executives, product development staff, the marketing and sourcing teams or any combination thereof.

Presentations take about two to three hours. Open, honest discussion is encouraged after each finalist is presented and all feedback is recorded. At the conclusion of the presentation, the sponsor team decides which ideas they want to consider further and is left with a digital version of just those finalists for further due diligence.

Now that the presentation is complete, the EN team can breathe a sigh of relief right? Not so much. The work does not stop because the presentation is over – we’re just getting started…

The morning after:

Back at EN headquarters, all feedback is compiled and reviewed by the EN team and we begin our next steps:

  • Prototypes and additional information are requested from finalists who are in due diligence
  • Feedback is shared with those finalists whose journey has come to an end
  • An update is provided on the forum thread associated with the search

At the same time, the sponsor starts its due diligence period. During this time, they are evaluating all selected finalists to determine costing, manufacturing, pricing, marketing, distribution and more.

Follow up:

Once the EN team has provided the sponsor company with all the information they need to complete their evaluation, we follow up regularly by both email and phone to ensure everything’s running smoothly. As we receive information from the sponsor, we share it with finalists and via the forum thread so everyone is on the same page.

At the conclusion of the due diligence period, the sponsor makes a final decision on all remaining ideas. For those going to license, term sheets are requested and negotiations begin.

Do all searches work the same way?

In theory, yes – ideas that reach Stage 7 are presented to the search sponsor and/or manufacturing partner for a potential licensing deal. But, because we work with companies varying in size and category, we have to be flexible. Some deals happen quickly, while others can take years. Some companies review all finalists simultaneously while others review and license one-at-a-time. The only constant is change.

Regardless of the company, we do our best to keep all finalists updated with the latest and greatest information available so you know what we know.

Good luck to all G7’s and be sure to check out the forums for search updates!


 Have you ever thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if…”?

License Product License product License product

We exist to get product ideas out of your head and onto retail shelves, all at no risk to you.

Four steps to kicking off your design project – fast!

Make like an Edison Nation designer and take note of these four steps to kickstart your design process.

So you’ve got an idea for an invention that needs some “fleshing out”. What does the design look like? What is it made of? How big is it? Where to begin? Starting the design process can be daunting, even if you’ve done it a thousand times before. As the lead designer of Edison Nation’s “As Seen on TV” product division, I like to get started by walking myself through an inspirational process that goes a little something like this:

Step 1: Surf’s up

Scour the web for anything and everything relevant to your idea. The world is literally at your fingertips. Without leaving your desk, you can check out similar products and their reviews, read blogs to learn about the type of person who might use your invention, watch videos of the problem you’re trying to solve and so on. Save anything and everything that inspires you. Using a site like Pinterest can help you to organize all of these virtual-inspirations in one place. Or, go old school and print things out to make an actual “inspiration board” like the ones below found in Enventys‘ engineering and design space. 

Inspiration boards

Step 2: Magic Schoolbus-it!

This one is my personal favorite. Remember the Magic Schoolbus series? Anyone? Crickets? In these nostalgic books, a wacky teacher took kids on crazy adventures all over space and time aboard a magic bus. Take your idea on that ride, too! Momentarily imagine your completed invention in 5 or 6 very different places: on the moon, under water, in the desert, in ancient Egypt. How would it look and feel different in each of those places? How would it need to change to work correctly in all of those places? Would certain pieces become unnecessary? Is there a piece that has to be metal instead of plastic? Would it need to be taller, thinner? Envisioning these unusual adaptations of your invention will help you to zero-in on which traits are the most important, and will help you determine what factors should drive your material choices for different components. Jot down these thoughts and keep them in mind as you work through the next steps.

Magic School Bus

The Magic School Bus TM is a trademark of Scholastic, Inc and is in no way affiliated with Edison Nation

Step 3: Get Touchy-Feely

Don’t just look for things that inspire you visually – think about textures, sounds, smells, even temperatures that apply to your concept. A fabric swatch, a piece of tin foil, sandpaper, a smelly marker… all of these are great examples of sensory cues that can inspire the way your invention is experienced by users. For anything tangible, create a collection of these physical things in one place. You don’t have to go all out and make a whole inspiration board… even a Ziploc bag or a section of a bulletin board can serve the same purpose.

Get touchy feely with various textures and shapes

Step 4: Get out!!

Seriously, get out. Leave your surroundings. Often times, I’ve become so stumped on a design project that I give up and head out to get coffee or run an errand to get my mind off things. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve inadvertently found my solution on these trips out of the office. The way a knob turns on a parking meter, the heat of a coffee cup dissipated by a cardboard sleeve… inspiration is everywhere! Either the design-gods happened to align for me in those moments at Starbucks -OR- getting out of a solitary bubble is absolutely key to the creative process. Either way, I’ll take it!

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Have you ever thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if…”?

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protoTYPING: Tips to help you make a better product pitch

No matter how good an idea, your chance at success may hinge on the quality of your product pitch

On the last weekend in September, the Edison Nation and Enventys teams headed to the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth, Ga., for the Amazon Inventions Tour. It was a great event for inventors to make their product pitch, network and listen to great speakers. Inventors with mature ideas or inventory made their product pitch to Amazon to get approved for the new Amazon Launchpad platform. In a different part of building, inventors that were still in the idea or prototyping stage pitched ideas to the Edison Nation team in hopes of landing a licensing deal. There were great speakers talking about all different aspects of product development and inventing, including Tom Charron from 3D Systems, Anthony Knight from the USPTO, Kate Drane from Indiegogo, and even Edison Nation superstar inventor Eric Huber. There was even a mixer on Friday night hosted by Budweiser which was a fantastic time to network.

Amazon Inventions Tour Entrance

While the Edison Nation and Enventys design teams are usually hard at work at the home office in Charlotte, we took a few days off to join the panels to review the ideas submitted to the event. We piled into a few cars on Thursday afternoon, my team packing four grown men in a Jetta TDI, and made the short four-hour journey to Atlanta. On Friday and Saturday we split up into American Idol style judging teams comprising at least one team member from the different disciplines like industrial design, licensing and engineering. We were setup behind dramatic black-clothed tables in rooms that were big enough to host a soccer match, and gave inventors at least seven minutes to show us their ideas and make their product pitch.

Doug Doolen, Rae McNeil, Carlos Perez and Scott Dromms made up one panel room at the Amazon Inventions Tour

Doug Doolen, Rae McNeil, Carlos Perez and Scott Dromms made up one panel room at the Amazon Inventions Tour

After two days of hearing numerous pitches I noticed that despite all of the inventors having immense passion for their ideas, not all of them did an equally good job of communicating their innovations. No matter how good an idea, the chances of getting investors, landing a licensing deal, or even selling product at a trade show may hinge on the quality of your product pitch. Here are a few pointers to make your next pitch better.

Don’t Bury the Lead

By far the most frustrating mistake that was made during pitches was not explaining what the product was early in the presentation. There were many times that after five minutes of explanation, I still had no idea what the product was or what it did, which left little time after that to get caught up. Fortunately, the judging team was skilled and kind enough to ask probing questions and extract the idea, but other groups or audiences may not be so forgiving. A great way to pitch a mouse trap would be to say, “I became frustrated by mice running through my house, so I designed a device to trap them. It has a wooden base with a spring loaded gate and a food tray. When the mouse steps on the food tray, the spring releases the gate and it unwinds rapidly, killing the mouse.” You need to quickly and concisely state the problem and your proposed solution as early as possible in the product pitch to keep your audience interested.

Back Story is OK, but in Moderation

Every product that makes it to market has an interesting story. There are bins full of prototypes, the magical trip to the hardware store that saved the day, and that time it almost burned down the garage. The trials and tribulations of the process is what makes inventing and product development so much fun. These stories are great fun when sharing with family or fellow inventors, but can be a drag on a pitch. Back stories can add flavor and context, but when speaking to someone unfamiliar with the product, it needs to stay high level and be really interesting to avoid losing their attention. James Dyson made 5127 prototypes before he came up with the bagless vacuum cleaner, but if you had to sit in a room and listen to a story about each one you would lose your mind. Back to the mouse trap, a good back story might be, “My wife and I like to pop cheese curds while practicing our ballroom dancing at home. One day a mouse scampered through the living room towards our cheese bowl. My wife freaked out mid Foxtrot and stepped on my toe so hard that I fell over and crashed into the lamp. I had to go to the ER and get four stitches on my forehead. After that I knew I had to find a way to get the mice.”

Rehearse Your Product Pitch

No activity performed well is done without practice, and this goes for pitching a product, too. One of the best pitches I saw at the event was a gentleman who came in with an idea for exercise equipment. The product was novel, but the presentation was outstanding. In just four minutes he talked through the history of the product and its benefits all while doing about 20 different exercises. He was a fit guy, but by the end he was sweating. Most importantly the panel had a crystal clear picture of his concept and had very few questions. It was clear he had practiced the routine a number of times and it helped communicate his concept clearly. Of course not everyone has great charisma or knack with words, but rehearsing your pitch will help you understand your own concept better and give you the confidence to communicate the idea clearly.

Prototypes are Gold

You could pitch a product to someone who does not speak your language and it would likely still go well if you have a prototype to help tell the story. Seeing an idea born in three dimensions is immensely helpful in communicating a new innovation. The ultimate is a prototype that functions perfectly and looks like a finished product, but much simpler prototypes can be just as compelling. Having a prototype shows that you have put forth significant thought into the form and function of the innovation, even if it is made from simple household materials like paper, wood, or PVC. Just make sure to transport the prototype in an opaque package so as not to accidentally have a public disclosure, and make sure if it requires a consumable like water or batteries that you have spares on hand to replenish.

Giving a pitch is a nerve wracking experience. It can feel like the stakes are high and that your idea will live or die based on how well the product pitch goes. However, with plenty of practice and a prototype in hand you will maximize your chances for a positive result from the meeting.

Have you ever thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if…”?

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We exist to get product ideas out of your head and onto retail shelves, all at no risk to you.