Two entrepreneurs find cool idea for hot coffee

April 1, 2011 12:25:29 AM PDT
Have you ever burnt your tongue on a scalding cup of coffee? Well, it bothered two young inventors so much they created something to stop that from happening. Now they've also found a new way to get that cool idea funded.

"I was tired of burning my mouth on coffee that was too hot or waiting for coffee to cool down," said Dave Jackson.

Entrepreneurs Dave Petrillo and Dave Jackson, a Stanford grad, decided to do something about their coffee temperature dilemma by inventing coffee joulies. You drop the joulies into your cup, pour in the coffee, and the temperature drops to a drinkable level. The phase changing material inside each joulie then heats up the coffee once it's gotten too cold, making the entire experience comfortable longer.

"We're just happy that we're going to help people not burn their lips on coffee anymore," said Jackson.

But it comes at a price. The two Daves are on different coasts and they need money for their start up. Going the venture capital route is the norm, especially in Silicon Valley and that was evident on Thursday at an event where entrepreneurs from overseas tried to get local VC backing. However, these two inventors are opting for something else.

"There are a lot of stories where people are stifled, their creativity, when a big VC comes in and tries to change a bunch of stuff," said Jackson.

They went to It's a place where anyone can help fund creative ideas like a CD or coffee joulies.

"That the only thing you get in return is our product. You don't get a piece of the company or anything like that," said Petrillo.

"This is very different, not equity, not debt and it's not technically donations," said Mark Cannice, Ph.D., from USF.

Cannice founded USF's entrepreneurship program. He calls an innovative, money-raising, social networking tool.

Coffee Joulies founders knew exactly who to target to get the buzz going. Aside from joining Kickstarter, they sent emails to blogs like Gizmodo and Gizmag. Those blogs picked up the idea and tweeted about it.

In just four days, the two Daves have surpassed their fundraising goal by 300 percent.

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