The team at Cutting the Cable, the winner of last week’s Anniversary Edition of the Hatching, may have a tentative name, but their idea is one grown from a shared passion and persistent problem. Founded by three friends with a love for the sport of Fencing, Cutting the Cable provides an affordable solution to a previously very expensive, but unavoidable problem.
Professional and amateur fencers alike use scoring equipment. Current scoring equipment is expensive. To make it more accessible to a wider range of people, Cutting the Cable has created a new solution.
The Problem Being Solved:
The team would love to see others get involved with fencing but fear the cost of the current scoring equipment deters them. “The cost of modern electronic scoring equipment is astronomically high,” says John. Their design would offer all the features of existing scoring equipment, at a fraction of the cost.
After working long and hard to complete a design and a product, the team is excited to move the process forward. “Now that we have what we believe to be a very marketable product,” says John, “We can’t wait to start making business connections and partnerships and start distributing our product.”
Where the Idea Came From:
As an electrical engineer and member of the MSU fencing team, John saw the rather basic functionality of the scoring boxes and wondered why they were so expensive. “I wanted to buy one for myself, but as a poor college student, I didn’t have the money.” So, he decided to make his own. Once he realized that he could make the same product for so little, they started looking into forming a business.
Cutting the Cable wants to be able to provide affordable equipment to both serious, competitive fencers, and those that simply enjoy it as a hobby. While competitive fencers can often afford the expensive equipment, those competing as a hobby often have to spend a lot on clubs and membership fees. The team wants to give more people the chance to enjoy the sport they’ve come to love.
While the team feels confident in the design of the product, given they are all engineers, John says they lack knowledge on the business side of things. “We lack the experience to market and take our design from a business perspective. But, we’re all pushing ourselves to learn the ropes of entrepreneurship as quickly as possible. They are also utilizing the services offered through Spartan Innovations and the mentors there have helped them better understand the business side of the company.
“As it turns out,” says John, there are many people as frustrated as I am by the high cost of fencing equipment.” The team has been surprised by the positive reactions toward the product. “The amount of people requesting updates on when our product will be available for purchase is much higher than we anticipated, so we’re very excited to see where this goes.”
Cutting the Cable would like to complete their app and start distributing by the end of the year. Three years down the road they would expect to become a known and used brand throughout the fencing community. “Once we get enough traction,” says John, “The next step would be to get FIE approval, allowing our device to be used at international tournaments.”
“Our first attempt at starting a business failed pretty miserably,” says John. Looking back though, they learned a lot from the experience. John’s advice would be to always keep an open mind about what can be improved around you. “Odds are you can create a solution to make the world a better place, and one of those will likely make you money along the way.”