Focus on the Entrepreneur: Riding High

Focus on the Entrepreneur: Riding High

Spring 2017

| By: Britten, Casey

Brian Davis invented cycling and outdoor products with the help of FVTC’s Fab Lab and 1 Million Cups.

Inventor Brian Davis turned his passion for bike riding into a full-time career. “I am not an engineer, but I love finding better ways to do things,” says the 40-year-old Appleton resident and former sales rep in the package shipping industry. “The experts at the Fox Valley Tech Fab Lab helped me turn three ideas into real products. My Fix It Sticks tools for bicycles, the Backbottle hydration bottle and the Weatherneck System balaclava are now realities.”

Working with the Fab Lab also connected Davis to Amy Pietsch, director of the FVTC Venture Center. “Every area entrepreneur said I had to meet Amy,” states Davis. “She was the one who introduced me to 1 Million Cups, a weekly gathering of small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs who exchange ideas.”

Davis made a presentation at a 1 Million Cups meeting in 2016 before he first launched the Weatherneck. “I had attended several of these meetings and knew that the audience provides good advice,” he says. “After my presentation, someone in the audience said, ‘Oh, this is like a bandana.’ That one observation helped me better define my product and tailor a marketing message.”

“The 1 Million Cups events are a great way for a start-up inventor or entrepreneur to get a ton of valuable information and support,” says Davis.

1 Million Cups

The nationwide 1 Million Cups initiative founded by the Kauffman Foundation has sparked local small business growth.

With the help of FVTC’s Venture Center, Appleton earned designation as the 76th municipality nationwide in becoming a “1 Million Cups” city in October 2015.

1 Million Cups takes place every Wednesday from 9-10 a.m. at FVTC’s Bordini Center and features free coffee, networking and presentations from local and statewide entrepreneurs.