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

Jarden hiring for new plastics plant

December 19, 2014 1:45 pm ET

Consumer products conglomerate Jarden Corp. is hiring plastics technicians for a new operation in Erlanger, Ky.    More

Image

The return of HPM's big presses

December 19, 2014 11:47 am ET

HPM is back in big injection molding machines.    More

Image

Indian auto parts maker set to buy assets in Germany, Mexico

December 18, 2014 10:35 am ET

Indian auto parts maker Samvardhana Motherson Gropup is buying the assets of insolvent German plastics car parts producer Scherer & Trier (S&T).    More

Image

Shipping slowdowns add to season's stress

December 16, 2014 4:02 pm ET

Toy companies know what they want for Christmas: an end to crippling shipping delays at West Coast ports.    More

Image

Milacron opening Mexico technical center, considers another in Brazil

December 16, 2014 12:58 pm ET

Milacron LLC plans to officially open a new technical center in Querétaro, 140 miles northwest of Mexico City, early in 2015, and the company is consi...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

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

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events