There’s only a month or so left of summer, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the outdoors with your family and friends. There are many fun toys and activities to do, but there is always one that will never fade away: water balloon fights. This is what sparked Tinnus Enterprises and Bunch O Balloons Founder and CEO, Josh Malone, to create one of the most popular toys of the year. He wanted to simply solve the issue of having to tie up hundreds of balloons, and Bunch O Balloons was born. Read about how he came up with his products, life as an inventor, and advice for entrepreneurs out there in our next Sponsor Spotlight series.
Josh Malone was new to Make48 this year and we couldn’t be more appreciative of his support. We really connect with him as an inventor and that is what drew us to collaborate. Malone is the Founder and CEO of Tinnus Enterprises and has created a couple of amazing products. Tinnus Enterprises is actually an acronym for “There Is Nothing New Under the Sun, because I see my task as discovering and assembling matter and principles provided by God.” He prefers to develop new products, but with a caveat. So, in one sense they are new products and in another they are just new configurations of old things.
This is what led Malone to the ever-so-popular Bunch O Balloons. This fun products has been featured on Good Morning America, Today Show, and more. So, how did he come up with this idea? He was simple tired of tying thousands thousands of water balloons every summer with his kids. Malone explains he “was stubborn and would not let them start playing until we had several hundred filled and tied. I would give in after an hour or so and let the war begin.” They of course tried everything like most inventors do, and nothing worked better than tying by hand. That didn’t stop Malone however, “I just knew for certain this could not be right. There must be a better way.” After tinkering with several different ideas and concepts, Bunch O Balloons emerged as the perfect solution.
Malone used Kickstarter to support his Bunch O Balloons launch, and it was more than successful. It had over 21,455 backers pledged and $929,160 to help bring this project to life. It also was funded in just 12 hours and overfunded 92 times! Malone explains that “launching a consumer product the traditional way requires obtaining and risking substantial capital. Equipment, inventory, marketing, cash flow are at least hundreds, if not millions of dollars, and no one knows if the product is going to sell.” That is a risk inventors have to take when crowdfunding, but there are those instances where it pays off in the end.
For inventors out there who are planning on using a crowdfunding platform, like Indiegogo or Kickstarter, there are important things you need to check off your list before hitting the “live” button. Malone insists inventors need to make a 1-2 minute video showing the product working. Then find at least 100 bloggers that cover your category and their preferred mode of contact, “hint- it is probably not email.” For those bloggers, he says to launch your campaign and send the bloggers a screen shot, tagline, and link. To get backers immediately, Malone says to “make sure your family and friends pledge early also.” The most important lesson in crowdfunding according to Malone is to use your funds wisely to deliver on your commitment. You won’t have any to spare after unexpected costs of production and delivery. Many million dollar Kickstarter creators are broke and out of business because they could not deliver what they promised.
As for working with inventors at Tinnus Enterprises, Malone doesn’t work with first time inventors right now. He says he actually struggles with how to counsel would-be inventors, “I followed some rules and broke some rules, and had no control over many events. I am still sorting through it and hope to contribute with a book someday.”
Go out and buy some Bunch O Balloons for your next summer adventure!