As a F-16 mechanic in the Air Force, Tom Burden consistently encountered the same annoyance.
“I was tired of my tools slinging off the aircraft and not really having a place to set them,” he says.
An endless loop of trips up and down the ladder to retrieve tools and Burden was ready to find a solution. He had the skills to design something, he was also studying mechanical engineering at the University of Toledo, but it was when he saw a non-slip mat on his mom’s car dashboard that kept her cell in place while driving that the lightbulb went off.
The Grypmat offers a flexible, non-slip rubber tool mat that conforms to perilous angles and shapes with ease. Tools stay put and the whole setup wipes clean with a damp cloth.
Burden was creating the first prototypes of the Grypmat when he was accepted into Wisconsin-based seed fund and mentoring program Ideadvance. He continued to develop the product before its debut at Oshkosh 2016 EAA AirVenture, the world’s largest air show.
Burden brought 600 Grypmats to the show. After only selling 14 on the first day he was worried, but by the end of the week he had completely sold out.
A successful Kickstarter campaign would yield more traction for the inventive product.
“It was fully funded in the first 10 hours,” Burden says.
The campaign offered a trio of Grypmat sizes, a large size that was comparable to the original run of Grypmats, and medium and small sizes. As the last of the domestic orders from the campaign are shipped, the effects of the campaign remain lasting.
Burden says the Kickstarter campaign helped with asset generation – photos and videos of the product, as well as getting the word out. He was able to connect with Safelite and Autozone, and got a call from Shark Tank to fill out an application. (He’s waiting to hear back.)
The Grypmat has been staking its claim in the aviation industry, connecting with major suppliers for sales through their respective websites, but the product is also looking to build a footing in the automotive industry. Burden’s next adventure should help establish that groundwork.
The Grypmat is one of 15 finalists for the SEMA Launch Pad. SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association of the automobile aftermarket, presents a huge networking opportunity for Burden. He’s currently filming a video to propel Grypmat to the top 10 which earns him a chance to pitch at the SEMA Trade Show in October.
While Burden has been traveling across the country to field interest in the Grypmat, locally he has the support of veteran business development non-profit Bunker Labs. He’ll continue to scale the company, exploring other industries where the flexible mat might be advantageous, like in medical applications. Burden also says to expect more products in the line which is under a rebrand from Grypshon Industries to just Grypmat.
The Grypmat is available online in the large size, with small and medium available soon.
For more information, visit grypshon.com.