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Richard and Joe welcomed three entrepreneurs, Eben Dobson founder and CEO of WISP Industries, and Cary Subel and Alaey Kumar, co-founders of SafeSleeve to tell their stories of how they started and grew their own successful companies.
Eben Dobson, WISP Industries
Eben Dobson is the CEO and founder of WISP® Industries, Inc., a brand that is revolutionizing the way we clean our homes and businesses. Like many ambitious businessmen, competitive athletes, and entrepreneurs, Eben Dobson has pushed himself to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Although others may see the broom and dustpan as mundane, Dobson does not. He saw a need to pursue something as simple as the broom and make it better. Dobson’s life experiences have inadvertently led him to create the WISPsystem®, a revolutionary alternative to the broom and dustpan.
Eben (a competitive scratch golfer) has learned a myriad of lessons from the golf course. Never did he think his greatest invention would stem from a simpler, more effective way to clean greens. Frustrated by sand on the green interfering with his putt, Dobson envisioned a tool with an innovative type of bristle that could quickly and thoroughly remove debris. The WISP® is that solution; an etiquette tool that gently sifts the sand past the canopy, restoring the green back to its original condition, leaving it better for the following group(s). As these WISPS® started disappearing from the courses; it was discovered they were being taken home for personal use. Prompted to find out why the answer became simple: it cleaned their floors and carpets like nothing else! Eben’s “lightbulb moment” propelled the start of the home and commercial version of the WISP® brand.
The WISP® is now recognized as an officially top-rated product on QVC, the miniWISP was voted “Top 10 Coolest Products” at the gold industry show in 2011, Real Simple magazine picked WISP® and the Number One Tool to Simplify Your Life, and the WISP Cleaning Set was recently featured on Good Morning America’s “Deal and Steal” must-have products for house and home.
Prior to establishing WISP Industries, Eben was a leader in the Financial Advisory business for 18 years. He specialized in advising professional athletes and clientele nationwide. Eben and his wife of 23 years reside in Solana Beach, California and they have two daughters in college. When not working, you can find him on the local, beautiful golf courses in the San Diego area.
Cary Subel and Alaey Kumar, SafeSleeve
The online company, SafeSleeve, was founded in California by two Engineering graduates (University of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo) with a desire to make a difference. While studying as undergraduates in the Student Union Building on campus, both founders were required to work diligently into the night to complete their projects and coursework. At the same time, they saw how many fellow students either sat on the floor or in a chair, with their laptops on their laps, unaware of the imminent radiation dangers. They discovered these hard-working students who used their laptops could be exposed to constant EMF laptop radiation and needed protection during laptop use.
Cary of Carlsbad and Alaey of Orange County, both 28, created a budding business preventing radiation for smartphone and laptop consumers after their days at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Cary and Alaey used the crowdfunding site Indiegogo and collected $22,000 to build a working prototype for the laptop case. About 18 months later, Subel and Kumar built their cellphone line. The cellphone collection started with iPhone cases but has expanded to Samsung and Android brands.
Now SafeSleeve is seeing an explosion in growth. What started with a laptop and one cell phone (iPhone) case, has expanded into cases for nearly all mobile devices as the company boasts more than 100 products and is expanding to screen protectors and car mounts. SafeSleeve’s revenue more than double and sales are at about 3,000 units per month, up from 500 two years ago. SafeSleeve’s products have reached more than 40 countries, and they are looking to expand to the Middle East. Their distribution includes major retailers in the U.S, along with SafeSleeve’s website and distributors in Europe and Australia.