Swarm tackles product design and development
Ryan Summerlin November 23, 2012
People never know where the next big idea will come from, but those at Swarm are placing their bets and putting forward their own market expertise to turn an idea into a reality. The local design and engineering firm works with people to take a concept to market.
Whether that means engineering the idea into a viable product, working on a distribution system, developing an online presence or finding the right manufacturer, the team at Swarm does it all. The three managing partners, Wesley Garrett, Jon Hart and Devin Howells, created the company as a way to work on new projects.
"We started this company because we thought, ‘Hey, we have great ideas. We should create these products and bring them to market, just start viable companies,’" Garrett said. "And that model has evolved People bring their ideas to us, and that is from the concept stage to the delivery stage."
"Everyone has an idea," he added.
Hart chimed in.
"We’re a one-stop shop for whatever people need," he said. "We provide whatever you don’t have, and we work with everyone from an independent product developer through to actual companies already producing products."
In 2008, Hart and Howells were interested in private engineering work and started the company, but the focus of Swarm quickly evolved. Since then, the partners have been working to flesh out their business model, which covers every aspect of getting an idea for a product onto shelves.
Since then, the three have worked together selecting different product ideas, including everything from ski accessories to standing desks to cradles. Their projects run the gamut, and as Swarm settles into its role, more ideas are coming in.
"The idea behind the name is that we would use a swarm to attack a problem," Hart said. " Depending on what you need, we can work with the swarm, our contacts, to fulfill that need."
Those looking to start a business can choose from several different contracts with Swarm, which offers several payment options that include equity stake in the new business or paying them directly for services. The intent is to be flexible with incoming customers, in some cases funding the entire manufacturing and delivery process for new companies.
One equity stake project Swarm invested in was a heavy duty truck bed container, Ruff Sack. The idea for the product came after a local was moving his mother before Hurricane Katrina, loading all her belongings into plastic bags.
"He came to us with a basic design," Garrett said. "We helped fine-tune that idea and get the product through the patent stages.
"Now, we’ve just started manufacturing the product on a mass scale."
Projects make take up to two years to finally reach market, and the company hopes to launch more products in the coming months.
" itself, an idea doesn’t have much value," Hart said. "To get a product to succeed, you have to have both the idea and the execution.
"If you have a lame idea, but great execution, the idea can work, just think of all the terrible products on the market right now. On the converse, you can have a really great idea, but if you have poor execution, no one will ever see or hear about the product. Our job is to find the good ideas and give them great execution."
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