By GREGORY ZELLER //
Perhaps Brian Fried should launch the re-inventors club.
Boasting many notches on his toolbelt – several inventions, a few commercial scores and a pair of how-to books for the entrepreneurial tinkerer – Fried is founder of Inventors and Entrepreneur Clubs in both Nassau and Suffolk counties. The networking groups have exposed him to makers at various points on the invention spectrum, and he’s helped several find their way.
Now, the corporate product-development consultant, host of the Got Invention Radio podcast and inventor of Pull Ties (a QVC hit) has re-tooled his body of work into an all-purpose inventor’s consultancy, with a national “soft launch” underway.
Fried has flipped the switch on Inventor Smart, a Melville-based consultancy offering a range of services to help inexperienced inventors navigate product-commercialization waters. They can be choppy, according to the entrepreneur, whose life’s work – as both an ally of inventors and an inventor himself – has exposed him to every stage of the commercialization process.
“I’ve been doing this for so long,” Fried told Innovate LI. “I’m putting it under a brand now that will have some national recognition.”
The prolific producer has concocted a six-step process including product evaluation, design assistance, patent and IP protocols, licensing and manufacturing guidance and marketing support – everything upstart inventors need to “achieve their dreams,” Fried noted.
“I’ve helped many inventors source their products and helped them with all the resources they needed to start their businesses,” he said. “It’s going to be more of a business at this point.”
The amateur inventor of the Snack-O-Sphere and the Eggstra Space refrigerator organizer is not going pro alone. Fried is in the process of assembling a commercialization team – he’s already onboarded a patent agent and a 3D animator – though the entrepreneur promises he’s “still going to be involved in each of the transactions.”
“My vision is I’m overlooking a staff that can facilitate all the calls and requests coming in, but under my supervision, to make sure the personal touch of what my clients are looking for is fulfilled,” Fried said.
Inventor Smart has basically “absorbed” Fried’s Got Invention brand, the entrepreneur noted, though one holdover – the long-running Got Invention Radio podcast – has survived the transition and will be revived soon.
Fried launched the podcast in 2009, and while he “took the last couple of years off to develop Smart Inventor,” the host amassed some 150 interviews with fellow inventors and other commercialization professionals. The entire library is archived on Smart Inventor’s new website, and Fried plans to begin recording new episodes in September, with “some high-profile inventors already lined up.”
“Most likely, I’m going to convert it into a platform for inventors where they can take their idea for own self-promotion,” he noted. “I’ll give them a good interview they can use for other media.”
For now, tinkerers at every stage of the commercialization process can turn to Inventor Smart for design tips, tactics for negotiating with national retailers – Fried’s gone toe-to-toe with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and others – and more valuable services, both a la carte and bundled together.
Fried, a regular speaker at Small Business Administration and U.S. Patent & Trademark Office events, will still oversee monthly meetings of the Nassau and Suffolk Inventors and Entrepreneurs clubs (each meets bimonthly). He loves interacting with all those ambitious originators, the inventor noted, and is excited to offer his unique commercialization and licensing expertise to those ready to take the plunge.
“As an inventor with licensed products of my own, I know what it takes to develop, license and market an invention,” Fried said. “These are valuable resources for the inventor, and ultimately, I want to become the inventor’s trusted advisor.
“They’ll know we can take care of it for them,” he added. “Whatever stage they’re at, we can take it from there.”
What’s It? All-purpose commercialization consultancy for inventors
Brought To You By: Brian Fried, who’s always thinking
All In: “Nominal investment” for website design, SEO services and a publicist
Status: Launched softly