Monday, January 5, 2015

Young NH entrepreneur hopes product puts him in driver's seat

From:  Union Leader

At this week's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Londonderry teen T.J. Evarts will officially launch his steering-wheel cover invention that warns drivers of their distracted driving.

Evarts, who in 2013 turned down an investment offer on the ABC-TV show, "Shark Tank," also will kick off a crowd-funding effort for his SMARTwheel to raise at least $150,000 to get his invention into consumers' hands in May.

In Evarts' invention, lights and tones alert a driver to common distracted driving behaviors. Driving information also is delivered to a person's smartphone via Bluetooth, so a driver and/or a parent can see what grades the driver is receiving for distracted driving, including how many times the person took one or both hands off the wheel, he said.
He expects a big crowd during the four-day trade show that draws more than 100,000 people."We're hoping to reach several people," Evarts said last week. "First off, potential partners. We have a lot of opportunities for our technology and CES is the premier place to talk to other people in the field or other technologies that you look to integrate or other companies that are looking to integrate your technology."

Sure, the 19-year-old can't legally gamble or drink in Sin City, but he's seeking riches in his 10-foot-square convention booth, not at a smoky blackjack table.

"We've always been looking for the perfect place and time to launch our product," he said.

Evarts will kick off his crowdfunding on

Evarts said his product will retail for $199 with a goal of selling 10,000 units in the first year.

He said the first investors on the crowd-funding site would get 50 percent off that price.