Crowdfunding Your Invention - The Panel
Connecticut Crowdfunding Success Stories
Subject: Mark Nowotarski will moderate
a panel of several Connecticut entrepreneurs who
have successfully raised funds for new projects
using crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a way to use
the internet to raise money from relatively large
numbers of people who each contribute a
relatively small amount of money to back a
project. Major crowdfunding sites include
Kickstarter.com, Indiegogo.com and Rockethub.com.
The panelists will discuss what drew them to
crowdfunding, how they were successful and what
they have learned since they raised their money.
Their projects include a new type of keyboard for
iPads, a new type of wallet for iPhones, a new
type of circuit board for making unique music,
and a tasting room for a unique catering service.
Cliff Thier is President of West
Hartford-based iKeyboard, Inc., maker of the
TacType™ keyboard. The TacType keyboard
(formerly called the iKeyboard) piggybacks over
the virtual keyboard of the Apple® iPad®. The
TacType keyboard gives the user the ability to
touch-type on the iPad. iKeyboard raised $26,000
on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter in June
2011. These funds were used for industrial
design and to produce the initial production run.
In addition to inventing, Cliff has his own
commercial law practice in Connecticut. He has a
Juris Doctor from Widener University School of
Law and a B.A. in Political Science from SUNY
Mark Donne & Jason Maloney
are cofounders of diffr3nt, makers of the
diffr3nt™ wallet. They are based in Fairfield,
CT. The diffr3nt wallet is a handmade fabric
cover for a smart phone that also holds money and
credit cards. Diffr3nt raised $4,609 on
Kickstarter in November of 2012. These funds
were used to produce the initial production run
of their product. Prior to diffr3nt, Mark worked
for Apple Computer in their West Hartford Store.
He has a Bachelor of Arts, New Media Marketing
from Fairfield University. Jason Maloney
currently works for IBM as a client research
analyst and has a Bachelor of Arts, Marketing
from Fairfield University.
Doug Lyon, Ph.D. is Chairman of
the Computer Engineering Department at Fairfield
University and the inventor of the Arduino Digital Signal Processing
Shield (DSP for Arduino). He is based in
Fairfield CT. The DSP for Arduino is a
programmable circuit board that helps musicians
make unique sounds and helps students learn the
basics of digital signal processing. Doug raised
$7,859 on Kickstarter in March of 2013. He is
using the funds to feverishly produce the first
run of his product even as we speak. Doug is
also a senior member of the IEEE, President of
DocJava, Inc., CTO of Lyon-Ratafia, and President
of the Inventors Association of Connecticut
(IACT). He received a Ph.D., M.S. and B.S.
degrees in Computer and Systems Engineering from
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Jim Vellano & Jen Vellano are
founders of Maison Privé, a boutique
catering company based in Greenwich CT. They
raised $14,920 on Kickstarter in March of 2013.
They are using the funds to build a tasting room
in their facility. Prior to Maison Privé, Jim
was a Chef de Cuisine at Thomas Keller Restaurant
Group. He has a Grand Diplome, Cuisine
Patisserie from Le Cordon Blue in France. Prior
to Maison Privé, Jen was Chef de Partie at Per
Se in NYC. She has a Culinary Arts certificate
from Institute of Culinary Education and a degree
in Wildlife & Fisheries Biology from
University of Vermont.
Moderator and Meeting Organizer:
Mark Nowotarski is president of
Markets, Patents & Alliances
LLC in Darien CT and a registered US patent
agent. Mark has several patent clients with
crowdfunding projects and has given training
seminars and webinars on crowdfunding through the
ABA, IACT, SCORE and the UK based CIPA. Mark is
a former Corporate R&D Fellow at Praxair Inc.
He has a Master’s degree in Mechanical
Engineering from Stanford and a Bachelor’s
degree in Aerospace, Mechanical Sciences and
Physics from Princeton.