Kevin Rains isn't much of a skateboarder himself, but when he saw his son learning to snowboard, he realized that the skateboard business was in need of a product that makes it easier and safer for kids to learn.
After researching existing products and even registered patents, Rains, who was working in the mortgage business at the time, discovered there was nothing out there like what he had in mind. Rains envisioned a set of handles that would attach to the skateboard or snowboard with flexible tubing and allow the user to hold onto something while learning to maintain their balance.
His idea has a safety component, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children ages 0 to 4 years, older adolescents ages 15 to 19 years, and adults ages 65 years and older are most likely to sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In addition, almost half a million emergency room visits for TBI are made annually by children ages 0 to 14 years and falls cause half (50 percent) of those injuries.
Rains' product, which is called Krainkn, makes it easier for kids (and adults) to stand on and manipulate boards of all sorts while they get the hang of riding.
Getting the product off the drawing board and into production hasn't been easy. Rains built his first prototype with parts he purchased at the local Home Depot and Target. After he perfected his design, he used 3D printing technology to create an official prototype that could be used and thoroughly tested by kids at the local skate park. It was quickly clear Rains had a hit on his hands.
Now, Rains needs to get his product made. Having a mold created for mass production will cost about $6,000. To raise that money, plus what he'll need to produce the product and market it, Rains has turned to the crowd-funding site Kickstarter. His goal is to raise enough money to get the company off the ground by getting enough buyers to commit upfront. Those who commit to purchase a Krainkn product — customers can buy just the handles or a skateboard that comes with the Krainkin handles already attached — will be the first to get theirs when the products are made. (If Rains doesn't raise enough to meet his goal of $15,000, then no one's money will be taken and the products won't be sold that way.)
He'll be back to the drawing board looking for another way to finance his great idea.
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