This article is written by Timothy Brophy.
When you imagine yourself as an entrepreneur, you probably picture a big box office, like Facebook, with an awesome environment and unlimited perks. At least that’s what I pictured before I started Common Fibers with my 3 college friends. We’re bootstrapping out of a garage with a giant laser. It gets heated.
It’s been almost two years since the idea for Common Fibers™ first sprouted. Friends, Gabe and Ann dreamed of making dynamic carbon fiber applications without the time commitment of multiple layups and hours of drying resin. That’s when they invented the CF-lex™ hinge. Quickly realizing they were on to something incredible, they vetted the idea with several industry experts and decided to move forward with filing a utility patent. From idea to vetting to filing the patent took about six months.
This is where I come in. I was putting a ton of time toward entrepreneurial avenues in my last year of grad school and excitingly talking about my learnings with everyone I came into contact with. Gabe and I were talking one night and he shared the CF-lex™ hinge idea with me. It was incredible. The applications that could be made from a simple lightweight hinge seemed endless! How startup teams are formed is part timing, part experience, and all excitement. Gabe asked me to join him and Ann in helping bring the CF-lex™ to market. Our friend Myles was off working full-time but we knew we needed his marketing skills and pure energy. We still had no idea how this was all going to work.
Three months of scrambling and we decided to enter a local innovation competition. After winning some seed money from the innovation competition we were fortunate enough to be invited to join an accelerator program called the Kauffman FastTrac® NewVenture™. Its framework really helped us develop a lean business model and gain momentum. We pivoted from aiming for license agreements right away to creating consumer goods. It bought us time to move from the storming phase into norming and lay the groundwork for our company.
As of September 1st, the project was started by designing 3 products, which displayed our CF-lex™ hinge. The Minimalist Wallet, Full-Size Wallet, and iPhone Wallet were designed, prototyped, and refined over the next 6 months.
Why wallets you ask? We believe the wallets are the perfect way to showcase our carbon fiber hinge while completely redefining the carbon fiber consumer goods price umbrella.
With our manufacturing methods, we are able to create handmade 100% real carbon fiber wallets while keeping the price down for our consumers. Our Kickstarter backers will help us jumpstart our company and develop our supply chain while boasting a carbon fiber wallet that is the next evolution in composite applications.
Our Kickstarter project is launching March 18th. I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me via email Tim@CommonFibers.com