By Melina Orantes
A project that originally started in the Innovation and Commercialization Lab has now progressed into something much bigger: Desk-E has gone from the classroom to Kickstarter.
The Desk-E is a portable desk extension to help students manage their space in the classroom more effectively. The idea sparked from the struggle of not having enough desk space. It is the first portable, rotatable desk extension.
The Desk-E team consists of Gal Bechor (’15, International Business), fifth-year hospitality student Stavro Victor, fifth-year mechanical engineering student Richard Maldonado, and fifth-year computer engineering student Keith Brase.
After winning first place at the 2015 Bronco Startup Challenge, members of the Desk-E team realized it was a feasible product. The team managed to sell 90 of its 120 prototypes on campus. The sales prompted the team to further develop the project, which ultimately resulted in a Kickstarter campaign and an original patent on the product.
Kickstarter is a community website that helps innovators make their ventures a reality with the support of individual consumers.
The Desk-E Kickstarter campaign, which launched on Sept. 28, is hoping to raise enough funds, which will be used for additional research, development, manufacturing and marketing expenses.
The Desk-E team is currently sold out of its prototypes; however, there are available Kickstarter campaign pledges that range from $5 to $1,000, and some of the pledges entail rewards that include the latest edition of the Desk-E, personal engraving on a Desk-E and even dinner with the Desk-E team.
The original product, which was the version created during the one-year lab course, was built within budget and time frame. As of now, the team has taken the original prototype and made multiple improvements.
“Our updates are ” things to make it easier to use, things to make it cheaper, and most importantly, things to make it more versatile,” said Maldonado.
The Kickstarter campaign comes to an end on Oct. 28. The campaign is centered on the idea of supporting students and helping students. The team isn’t asking for much: a simple mention by word of mouth is sufficient.
“It’s more something that we should market to schools ” they would provide [it] to the students,” said Maldonado. “Either they would provide [it] to the students to borrow, or [it could be] something [schools] would sell in the disability resource centers or in bookstores.”
The team’s ultimate goal is to sell the product to a group that can develop the Desk-E into a commodity that could be sold worldwide.
The current members of the Desk-E team are giving their complete attention to this project, with the hope that it will grow into a product that will benefit students across the world.
In order to reach its goal, the team is doing everything it can to make sure it gets the recognition it deserves.
“We’re trying to, first, get the idea noticed with enough ” backing to either start selling more and ” eventually sell to a big company,” said Brase.
The team is making sure of this by advertising as much as it can on its social media sites and trying to appeal to the college community.
It has posted a few comedic videos about the Desk-E on its sites showing how much its members are enjoying their commitment to the project. .
“After the Bronco Startup Challenge, we really realized that the strength of our team isn’t in the idea; it’s in the creativity of our team,” said Maldonado.
Zoran Liu-Moy / The Poly Post
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