The DropCatch Senior in action.
If you’ve ever stepped on a beer bottle cap, Kent Frayn feels your pain.
The 23 year old from Belmont Gardens was sick of stumbling out of his room while at the University of Illinois two years ago, only to have a stray cap jab into his foot. So he tied a high powered magnet to a piece of cloth and hung it below the wall mounted bottle opener--a way of catching the steel landmines that dotted his college apartment.
The jerry-rigged magnet cap catcher is now an idea worth more than $22,000 and climbing.
In 72 hours, DropCatch--a wood plank with a bottle opener affixed and an embedded magnet--raised twice the original goal of $10,000 worth of crowdfunding Frayn and his former roommate, co-inventor and business partner Joe Walsh had set.
“It blew our minds, we didn’t know what to say, we didn’t know what to think,” he said of the quick funding his idea received. “It’s unbelieveable.”
A woodworking hobby in college is how DropCatch got its start, Frayn said. He’d make the contraptions as gifts to fellow classmates, whose friends would in turn want one. The simple solution to collecting stray caps was something people seemed to need, so he and Walsh decided to turn to Kickstarter to see if it would be a viable business.
In just three days, DropCatch already has about 420 orders, and the campaign ends July 4. Frayn credits word-of-mouth and quick media features on sites like Gizmodo, TechCrunch and Thrillist for the quick fundraising.
Frayn said he and Walsh originally intended to make all the products--which come in two sizes--themselves. Due to high demand, he said, they have reached out to local woodworkers in order to meet the October ship date for those who donated to his campaign. The DropCatch Senior, $60, holds up to 52 caps, and the Junior, $40, holds 15.
“This whole thing is just incredible,” he said. “We’ve never done this before, we don’t have a team here. We're just regular guys."
Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.