Electrician's plastic invention gets a jolt from Kickstarter

By Catherine Kavanaugh
Staff Reporter

Published: March 6, 2014 11:01 am ET
Updated: March 6, 2014 11:07 am ET

Image By: SnapPower Interest in the SnapRays outlet covers, which have integrated LED lights, has taken off thanks to a funding campaign on Kickstarter.

Related to this story

Topics Consumer Products, Injection Molding

A guide light built into a plastic electrical outlet cover sparked a lot of interest — and monetary pledges — for a Utah electrician using Kickstarter to raise money to get his idea into production.

Jeremy Smith, 41, of Provo exceeded his $12,000 goal in just two hours and raised $130,000 and counting less than 36 hours into his month-long crowd-funding campaign that started March 3.

Smith invented what he is calling SnapRays Guidelights. His outlet covers are made of ABS and have a bottom edge equipped with light-emitting diodes. The device eliminates the need for night lights and frees up space for other plugs.

SnapRays are going for pledges of at least $12 for one on Kickstarter and almost all are spoken for by supporters.

The devices can be installed in seconds over standard electrical outlets. Turn off the power. Remove the existing cover plate. Press on a SnapRays Guidelight. Turn the power back on. That’s it.

Smith’s patented “power extractors’’ — two prongs on the back of the outlet cover — enable the device to draw power from the receptacle without any hardwiring.

He is in China overseeing the startup of production of the outlet covers while his business partner, Sean Watkins, 29, monitors their Kickstarter site.  The friends are co-founders of a company called Snap Power and this is their first product.

“I’m excited. I’m thrilled,” Watkins said in a telephone interview.

He chalked up the positive response on Kickstarter to friends and family and the contractors he and Smith met at the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas last month.

“I can sum it up in one word: simplicity,” Watkins said. “There’s no hard wiring. There’s no messing with anything. Anybody can do it and that makes it an attractive product.”

The business partners selected ABS plastic for its durability and to meet Underwriter Laboratories’ electrical codes. They did a limited production run for the UL tests and to have samples for the trade show.

“All the home builders, electricians and wholesalers that came by really liked it,” Watkins said.

The business partners are getting a lot of feedback on Kickstarter with requests for more colors and an outlet cover compatible with ground fault circuit interceptors (GFCIs).

Smith posted a response online to the latter suggestion, saying “We are currently considering a GFCI design at this time and have even played around with some prototypes. We hope to be able to offer them in the near future.”

Another backer would like SnapRays with a motion sensor for bedrooms: “The last thing I want are LED lights on all night. That said, amazing idea for other locations in the house.”

Project supporters also mentioned alerting their friends to the SnapRays Kickstarter project on their Facebook pages.

Kickstarter uses social media to raise money for everything from publishing books to recording albums to building classrooms out of shipping containers. Project creators have 30 days to meet their financial goals or the backers’ pledges aren’t collected and the project gets nothing.

Project creators offer “rewards” for pledges. Most of Smith’s supporters — about 700 — pledged $24 for a three-pack of SnapRays Guidelights, which come in white, ivory and almond. However, that was after 500 supporters pledged $40 for a five pack and that reward hit its limit.

The business partners recently quit their day jobs to devote all their energy to Snap Power.

“It’s gotten busy and we had to switch over full time,” Watkins said.


Comments

Electrician's plastic invention gets a jolt from Kickstarter

By Catherine Kavanaugh
Staff Reporter

Published: March 6, 2014 11:01 am ET
Updated: March 6, 2014 11:07 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Illinois injection molder expands

July 21, 2014 1:23 pm ET

Automotive supplier All-Rite Industries Inc. has added two new injection molding machines to its operations.    More

Image

Newell Rubbermaid to acquire Contigo brand

July 21, 2014 5:00 pm ET

Consumer products company Newell Rubbermaid Inc. has signed an agreement to acquire Ignite Holdings LLC, owner of the Contigo and Avex brands of...    More

Image

Infiltrator goes very large scale for injection press

July 18, 2014 1:45 pm ET

Infiltrator Systems Inc. has designed and built a mammoth injection press, with 6,000 tons of clamping force, to mold septic tank halves measuring 15 ...    More

Image

Finding the picture-perfect use of scrap PS

July 17, 2014 12:26 pm ET

Shanghai Intco Industries Co. Ltd. was established 20 years ago in the United States as a trading company, but now based in China, the firm claims to ...    More

Image

Polyfab adding more room for automation and molding

July 17, 2014 12:02 pm ET

Polyfab Corp. is expanding its automation and injection molding capacity.    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events