At this stage of our existence here in the U.S., electricity is often taken for granted. But one natural disaster and the lights could go out. I remember being without power for five days after a hurricane and it seemed like we were suddenly back in the dark ages.
An innovative device created by Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork called LuminAID has changed the game with an innovative, inflatable and portable lighting device. LuminAID started as a simple class project and now is a true disaster relief product. LuminAid is one of the prize winners in the 2016 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest and recently I got the chance to interview Andrea, one of the co-founders.
The core idea was for the product to be solar, integrated with an inflatable structure so it packs flat, is water-proof, and floats. “The original design was a pillow shape device to keep it simple and fold easily. It could be distributed in large numbers to fulfill the needs after disasters” said Andrea when asked how they came up with the idea and design.
The first product was soft launched through a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Of course, their idea was initiated for natural disaster relief however they realized it would be useful for things other than disasters. The crowdfunding helped them learn more about their potential markets. “Our biggest market is for people buying it for use on camping trips, hiking, boating (i.e. waterproof), and inside personal emergency kits.”
You might remember these two inventors from a little TV show appearance. Back in 2014, Andrea and Anna entered and were selected to pitch on the hit reality television series Shark Tank. Mark Cuban, one of Shark Tank’s investors, offered the ladies a deal and has become their first investor.
I asked how they heard about the FedEx Small Business Grant contest.. Andrea stated, “We use FedEx cause we ship all over the world. We received an email about the contest. We love every opportunity to share our story and engage our customers.”
Today Andrea and Anna are looking to expand their business to hire more employees. They currently have a full-time team and they believe the grant will be a great chunk of money to put forth to expanding their team.
You could be the next big $25,000 grand prize winner. Registration is now open at http://smallbusinessgrant.fedex.com
Watch the FULL interview with LuminAID: