Booster seats are an important safety device for children up to eight years of age who are less than four-feet and nine-inches tall. Noting the importance of booster seats, an inventor named Jon Sumroy—who founded a startup company—created a portable car seat called the “mifold” that is ten times smaller than a traditional #Booster Seat. Despite its small size, the seat is very safe and includes three adjustable seatbelt clips that secure the hips and shoulder. It can fold into a backpack or glove compartment and comes in six colors. Jon Sumroy started his career as a pharmacist and never intended to become an entrepreneur but when he saw the need for a portable car seat he decided to create one and thereby set his life on an exciting new course.

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Jon recently discussed the creation of the “mifold” and his plans for the future of the item and the company that he founded.

Inspiration

Blasting News (BN): How and when did you think up the concept for the mifold?

Jon Sumroy (JS): In 2000 I was living in Manhattan and taxis never had booster seats for my children. The situation was not safe and that bothered me. So, I thought of creating a car seat that would be small and easy to transfer. I had a full-time job and life got busy so the idea was put on hold. In 2012, I read research about how half of American kids didn’t use the correct car seat when carpooling. It reminded me of my idea and I knew it was something that should be looked at again. The biggest challenges were technical and mechanical; developing a load restraining mechanism robust enough to withstand the forces in a crash test was an extremely difficult task.

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Another challenge was around the car seat regulations. These can be confusing and they vary in each country. We developed different mifold versions depending on safety regulations and labeling requirements according to the country.

BN: What was the creation process and public response like?

JS: The whole process has been exhilarating! We ran a crowdfunding campaign to launch mifold and used the Indiegogo platform and it was the most successful crowdfunding campaign ever for a juvenile product. The campaign pre-sold over $2,600,000 worth of units to customers in more than 140 countries. We have a growing ‘Hall of Fame’ from customers who tell us mifold protected their children in a collision. I am delighted that other parents and caregivers are benefiting from the invention. We have also attracted lots of investors including Riccardo Zacconi who is the CEO and co-founder of King Digital Entertainment, the company that developed the famous “Candy Crush Saga” game!

Invention

BN: Have you invented anything else? Do you plan to?

JS: I constantly have ideas; mifold is the first one I have brought to market.

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Right now, we are a one-product company and we have several new and exciting products in the pipeline, which we will be introducing in the next few months!

BN: What has been the most rewarding part of working on this project and what are your goals for coming years?

JS: Hand delivering the first mifold and seeing it being used by children was a truly wonderful feeling as was receiving an award from NASA, the Create the Future Design Award at the end of 2016. However, I think our greatest achievement so far was when I received the first email from a parent who believed that mifold had saved her child's life. In ten years, we hope to be competing with the best companies in our industry and be internationally recognized. Our hope and vision is for a child restrain for every child, in every car, on every journey, every time. We created the ultra-compact car seat category and we will continue to dominate and grow it.

BN: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to invent items for the baby market?

JS: To start any kind of company a person needs to have passion, determination, luck, and only consider products that truly add value to the parents’ lives. #Interview #Startup Company