These Ohio State legends invented the beer bong-koozie
The Kong is revolutionizing the tailgate game
Two Ohio State students, Tristan McIntire and Hunter Souders, are about to change the way students tailgate with their new invention: The Kong.
What started as just a crazy idea that came out of a night of drinking, The Kong is a hybrid of koozie and a beer bong and it's every bit as awesome as it sounds.
McIntire and Souders told The Tab about their invention, its creation and where they plan to go from here.
"Late one night after an evening of drinking and bar hopping Hunter and I bounced ideas off one another until finally coming across the idea of using a beer koozie as the funnel to the beer bong and some kind of way to neatly store the hose when not in 'bong' mode," said McIntire.
The two co-creators cite that their inspiration came from trying to solve the issue of the original, bulky design for a conventional beer bong.
It has been a long road for McIntire and Souders from conceiving the idea for The Kong to finding a manufacturer to make the product. The business partners and friends found a similar product that had been abandoned during the early 2000's, but moved forward with their idea anyway.
"Soon after we started making 3D models of an early version of our product," said McIntire. "We really didn’t know what we were doing."
The process they described was rather hectic. McIntire and Souders began speaking with suppliers the first day they started working on their 3-D model of the first Kong.
"The design process pretty much just involved a constant back and forth between adding new features in our CAD software and printing the new design at the Ohio State tech hub for just about the whole summer." The two creators said that they don't know if their idea would have come to fruition without the cheap and accessible resources at Ohio State.
"Finding someone to help out ended up being much harder than I would have anticipated. I probably spent about 5 days over the summer walking around Smith Lab asking random teachers and students if they could help me with the design of the Kong," said McIntire.
When it became clear that funding would be hard to come by through investors, McIntire and Souders began to look into crowdfunding. They eventually started a KickStarter that came close to reaching their initial goal, but it was cancelled.
After the enormous amount of attention from the KickStarter they were able to raise the rest of their funding privately. "Suddenly our family members didn’t see us as crazy anymore and saw the potential of the product we had and wanted to help." McIntire and Souders had zero enterpreneurial experience and knew little about starting their own business prior to The Kong. They spent much of this past summer marketing for their KickStarter and finalizing a prototype.
"One weekend over the summer of 2017 Hunter and I set off in my 2003 Chrysler Town and Country for a 16 hour car ride to a small foam duck factory near Grand Forks, North Dakota. I can’t describe to you how exciting this time was for us. Our entire summer had led up to this moment and we were potentially only days away from finally having a real working prototype." McIntire filmed their entire trip in the hope that one day he could make a "how to" video for other aspiring entrepreneurs.
McIntire and Souders hit their fair share of hiccups along the road, like their mold locking up during their trip to North Dakota and struggling to find affordable manufacturers.
"We had plans of throwing a launch party at one of the frat houses on campus and spending $5,000 to get either Rae Sremmurd, or OT Genesis to perform during the event 'cause we originally thought we would have the product here by the beginning of school."
Unfortunately, The Kong isn't ready this tailgate season. When asked for an update on the process McIntire said, "At the moment we are going back and fourth with a few sourcing agents which are helping us find cheap manufacturing in China and Malaysia."
"The process is turning out to be very slow but it's important everything is perfect before pulling the trigger and spending the thousands of dollars to manufacture the Kong’s," McIntire continued.
With a little ingenuity and a lot of hard work, these two guys may have changed the party game for good.