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 Indiegogo.com, 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)
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
"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.
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: