If you’ve ever been struck with a million-dollar idea, you’re probably not alone. Most of us have likely had that burst of thought—but pushed it aside given the difficulty of transforming an idea into an actual product or service. After all, where would you begin?
Enter Inventalator, a new online web platform dedicated to helping inventors turn their ideas into physical products. The Milwaukee-based company was developed by Cody Skonard, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Skonard started the company with the intention to combine all phases of the invention process into one website, as well as enable inventors to form connections and receive feedback from the consumers to improve their idea.
The process is simple: Inventors first submit their ideas onto the website. From there, site users vote on the inventions based on whether they would buy the product or not. If a product receives 50 votes within a month, it is moved to the Inventalator “engine.” In this area, the site users and inventors are able to interact with one another. Users also offer suggestions and improvements on the product so it can be more appealing to the general public. Finally, when the product is ready to be developed, Inventalator connects the inventor with manufacturers, product licensors and distributors, getting them contracts as well.
Inventalator is not the only site for inventors but it has two distinguishing characteristics. First, it’s a “market intelligence platform,” meaning that instead of producing the product itself, it supplies inventors with all of the resources to develop the product. It is a one-stop site for the inventor’s needs. Second, the inventor keeps the property rights.
Although the inventor keeps the property rights, the service is not free. There’s a $10 initial fee to submit an idea as well as a 1-2% fee for site transactions and a 3-5% commission fee for crowdfunding campaigns.
In addition, Skonard is currently working on developing a production software tool. The program would work like a fake stock market where site users can invest fake money in answers to inventors’ questions. Like the stock market, the user can cash out when it wants and earn rewards for the site.
So far, Inventalator has been active for three months and has amassed 275 users. By connecting inventors with consumers, Inventalator has streamlined the process and made the inventions more accessible to both parties. With little to lose, it might be time to submit that idea—after all, it could be the next great American invention.