Fairfield University and Inventors' Association event to explore the revolutionary new world of 'Crowdfunding'



Image: School of EngineeringCrowdfunding has become a new, exciting way to fund inventions that involves social networks such as Facebook and Twitter and influential weblogs like 'Gizmodo.'

Central to the world of inventors and patenting products, this revolutionary practice will be the focus of a Fairfield University lecture on Thursday, July 28 at 7 p.m., in McAuliffe Hall, Room 102, on the Fairfield campus. Free and open to the public, the talk is a presentation of the university's computer engineering department and the Inventors' Association of Connecticut (IACT). The events of the 29-year-old not-for-profit bring together not only engineers, inventors and tinkerers, but people working in marketing, venture capitalists, intellectual property attorneys and entrepreneurs, among others.

Attendees will learn what crowdfunding is, what projects qualify for it, and what it takes to succeed in the field of socially funded inventions.

Mark Nowotarski, president of Darien-based Markets, Patents & Alliances, LLC, will describe how Crowdfunding entails inventors posting invention videos on the Internet with different funding levels and awards. "Backers commit to different funding levels in exchange for the associated awards, such as one or more versions of the invention," explains Doug Lyons, Ph.D., president of IACT who is chair of the computer engineering department at Fairfield's School of Engineering. "If a certain minimum funding level is reached, the funds are transferred to the inventor and the inventor produces the product for the backers. Promotion of these projects is primarily through social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, and influential weblogs, such as Gizmodo, and Wired. If a project goes viral, funding can skyrocket."

Nowotarski, a registered U.S. patent agent with bachelor's and master's degrees from Princeton and Stanford respectively, will present three case studies of successful crowdfunding projects for patent pending inventions. They include a titanium bike lock that raised $108,000, in 44 days; Backcountry Boiler, a backpack stove that raised $56,000 in 30 days; and, the most successful crowdfunding project so far, an iPod nano wrist band that raised $941,718 in 30 days. They are each hosted on Kickstarter, an online funding platform for artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists, and inventors.

An inventor on 17 U.S. patents, Nowotarski is a former associate director of Research and Development for Praxair, where he was responsible for the development and worldwide introduction of new products into the environmental, electronics, metals and food industries. His initiatives generated over $300 million in sales. 
         

For more information, visit www.fairfield.edu/soe and http://www.inventus.org.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on July 13, 2011

Vol. 44, No. 3