Local inventor creates that extra set of hands we all wish we had
Antwaine Debnam, a Connecticut native and University of Connecticut Alum, has a desire to help others. This has been instilled in him since he was a child. His mother led by example and served as a nurse for many years. He witnessed the decline in nimbleness in her hands as arthritis set in and he wanted to create a better way to help her carry her medical bag, lunch, pocketbook and umbrella.
Beginning in 2011 with a sketch and an initial prototype made of metal and 3M hooks, an invention called Tripletote? was born. Tripletote? is the world’s first hands-free multitote for people who carry more than one bag, pocketbook, umbrella, etc. as they travel, commute and shop. “It’s my goal to make Tripletote? the extra set of hands we all wish we had,” says Antwaine.
Tripletote? was designed alongside a board certified chiropractor and it assists in biomechanically carrying loads in a comfortable, distributed pattern. Tripletote? also helps prevent finger and arm injuries by eliminating the continual strain of clutching multiple bags and items.
Antwaine has worked hard since his initial prototype in 2011. His invention was a success at Yale, where he won multiple prizes at Connecticut Innovation’s Entrepreneur Innovation Awards. He also sought the assistance of the Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC) and met with Denise Whitford, CTSBDC business advisor.
“Denise has helped with drawing connections between ideas and the execution of an idea. She suggests to ask yourself questions to be sure the next step you take is the best next step,” Antwaine says. “Additionally, Denise has helped to make introductions in commercialization and getting Tripletote? to the marketplace.”
Currently Antwaine is on tour meeting with Connecticut organizations and students to help communicate his four M’s of bringing an invention to the marketplace:
- Make the product
- Manage the process
- Market the product
- Massively engage with your customers.
Antwaine practices what he preaches. He has conducted several focus groups and surveyed over 500 people to help hone in on the final product, only to discover the need for more than one product in the Tripletote? lineup which now is up to three.
“A lot of people are inspired to innovate but many don’t know what to do to make a product,” says Antwaine, who couldn’t find much information to help him. So what did he do? He created an eight-step process to teach Connecticut residents how to blossom their ideas into commercialization. He is currently delivering this information on a free speaking tour where he meets with schools and organizations to share his experienced. For bookings, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Antwaine’s life purpose is to help people. Thus, he is an inventor and as he puts is, “an inventor’s job is to solve problems.” And Antwaine has solved the problem of how to carry too many items in an ergonomically fashion. “Don’t hold it. Tripletote? it.”
Antwaine always demonstrated a contagious sense of enthusiasm and a true “can do” attitude whenever we worked together. -Denise Whitford, CTSBDC Business Advisor