Cabot Man's Hydrant Connector Looks to Revolutionize Industry - Innovate Arkansas
Cabot Man's Hydrant Connector Looks to Revolutionize Industry
By Mark Carter, 3/7/2011 12:00:00 AM
ABC's "Shark Tank," the show in which aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and products to aspiring venture capitalists, returns for its second season on March 25.
This season, the tank will have an Arkansas connection. Cabot's Jeff Stroope and his Hy-Conn fire hydrant connector will be one of the products pitched on the show and judged in the May 13 episode.
Stroope, a former firefighter, filmed his segment late last year after applying in 2009 to be on the show. Of course, Stroope can't say anything about how he did, but he did promise, "It will make for good TV."
Hy-Conn - short, simply enough, for hydrant connector - is Stroope's own method of connecting a hose to a hydrant with his innovative clip that eliminates the need to screw the hose onto the hydrant's thread. (Watch a Hy-Conn demonstration on YouTube.)
"With the Hy-Conn connector, a fireman can connect a fire hose to a fire hydrant in as little as three seconds, and can disconnect it in one second," Stroope said. "I also have a design that allows you to connect a standard water hose for the everyday homeowner."
Stroope, 40, said he hatched the idea after seeing lives and property lost because water couldn't be delivered to a fire soon enough. Stroope currently serves as captain of the fire brigade at Remington Arms in Lonoke, where he works as a maintenance supervisor. He previously fought fires in Hot Springs with the Highway 70 West Volunteer Fire Department and in Corpus Christi and Hooks, Texas. Stroope has served as a fire captain, assistant chief and training officer. He also works with the Cabot Fire Department's dive team.
Hy-Conn seems long overdue. The last hydrant connector was patented in 1906, Stroope said. He touts his product as the only way to connect and disconnect a hydrant at a high speed. Hy-Conn is in the very early stages of development, and Stroope is working with Innovate Arkansas to create a business summary for investors, from whom Hy-Conn is seeking its first round of funding (or did Stroope get funded on "Shark Tank"? Hmmmm ...).
Hy-Conn has been tested at 1,000 pounds per square inch with roughly a 1,000-use life cycle and is available for multiple outlets and threads. Its patent is pending and the product is in production. Stroope currently is taking orders.
"Everyone who has seen it really likes it, and all the firefighters want their department to buy some," Stroope said.
The next step is continuing to get the word out about Hy-Conn. That figures to be less of a challenge once "Shark Tank" cranks up later this month.
"It can revolutionize the fire industry," Stroope said of his product.
David Allan has this Startup Weekend thing down. Allan and his Kick It Little Rock team won the latest Startup Weekend Little Rock held at Acxiom's corporate headquarters in the River Market.
David Woodberry isn't typical of the young entrepreneurs you'll find at startup accelerators like the ARK Challenge. Woodberry moved his family from their native Minneapolis to Little Rock to compete in the ARK and grow LinkedCause, which had already launched the TOMS Shoes-inspired Eatiply campaign.
New advances have enabled companies to drill deeper and more complex wells to tap the gas shale, too. Mixed in with the drilling improvements are new fracking techniques that increase the productivity of wells.
The entrepreneurial juggernaut Startup Weekend returns to central Arkansas this week. Startup Weekend Little Rock 2014 will start at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Acxiom's River Market District corporate headquarters and run through Sunday night.