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Crowd Funding a SLO First?

To the best of my knowledge the local start-up business Sanpei Optics is the first business to leverage the power of crowd funding to move their business idea forward. For those that attended the last Softec Tech Brew this product was presented in a Buckboard so the company has a Softec moment in their path to launching their business. Sunglasses might not sound like tech but the product was engineered here by a local entrepreneur Richard Sanpei and he is a member of Softec. To be completely open Sanpei Optics is a client of the SBDC at Cal Poly and I am the lead SBDC consultant so I have more than a little involvement in this. If this is successful it would prove that crowd funding, even in its current form, could be viable for a tech launch. 

View this crowd funding idea

Here is the press release:

San Luis Obispo, CA (October 26, 2012) - Sanpei Optics, the producer of innovative audio-adaptable glasses, has announced that it has launched its first eyewear models on, a leading crowdfunding website, for a forty-day campaign. "The launch will include two styles of glasses: the G.I.Y.A. (Give It Your All) model and the timeless I.M.I.O. (Inspire Me, Inspire Others) model.

The unique, U.S. Utility-Patented, hinged temple bar design eyewear allows the user to connect to their phone or other device to communicate, stream music or audio-books, cancel noise or simply wear without earbuds as traditional glasses, adjusting for various needs throughout the day.

"Our vision is to be the world's most innovative eyewear provider, known for the integrity of our products, services and people. We are committed to original eyewear designs that meet consumer needs for connectivity, comfort, flexibility, style and quality," said Inventor and Co-Founder, Richard Sanpei.

The concept for the design first came about when Sanpei as he watched construction workers fumbling with their ear plugs. He conceptualized glasses with a temple bar that would hold ear plugs in place. With the input of engineers he was able to create a revolutionary one-of-a-kind retractable and fully adjustable hinged temple bar, which was granted a U.S. Utility Patent.                                    

The increasing popularity of hand-held devices and earbuds provided the opportunity to expand on the original concept. Through additional designs and engineering, the earbud docking system evolved to accommodate iPhone (or standard) earbuds. All Sanpei Optics will be sold with either Sanpei waterproof earbuds or Sanpei earbuds with an inline mic for communication. Sanpei earbuds feature high fidelity 10mm drivers and a standard 3.5mm jack to fit today's most popular devices, including: iPhone, Android phones, iPad, iTouch, iPod, Nook and others.

Sanpei Optics lenses are scratch-resistant, water-wicking and TAC polarized for optimum clarity and 100% UV protection. The brand clearly competes shoulder-to-shoulder in style, durability and functionality with traditional premium sunglasses, while exceeding expectations with the innovation of audio-adaptability.

"Our glasses are perfect for the active lifestyle user, but are also useful in many professional applications such as heavy equipment operation, the airline industry, military, home hobbyist and so many others," said Sanpei. 

Sanpei Optics was chosen by the Cal Poly Small Business Development Center for Innovation, San Luis Obispo, CA, for its mentorship program. This invaluable resource has provided the resources and direction needed by the company's dedicated team.                     

Founded in 2012, Sanpei Optics is a pioneering eyewear company that has developed a unique, U.S. Utility-Patented, hinged temple bar design that is audio-adaptable and poised to transform the way sunglasses are used by the consumer. Sanpei Optics, a dba of RKS Vision Inc., is based in San Luis Obispo, CA, and is solely owned by Richard Sanpei and Linda Sanpei. For further details, please call 805.541.3873, or write to Linda Sanpei at:



Linda Sanpei

805.550.9150 cell

805.541.3873 office 





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