One of BYU’s newest start-ups, Fiber Fix, has taken its place in stores throughout the country, in fixing almost anything in and out of the home.
Fiber Fix is a tape-like product meant to fix everything from a cracked water pipe to tools in the shed. The company’s team of five includes students — Spencer Quinn, Derek Rowley and Chris Quinn — and non-students — Reed Quinn and Erick Child.
Spencer Quinn, a senior in bio-technology and business strategy, said the product is 100 times stronger than duct tape. Quinn said it has the potential to be a “$100 million opportunity with 100 percent penetration.”
Derek Rowley, a senior in economics, said, “Our product is very different from duct tape. This is actually a wrap (that) you have to dip in water (and) needs to be wrapped around itself for it to fix different things.”
Quinn and Rowley came up with the idea for Fiber Fix when they heard of a doctor who tried to fix his ATV by using casting tape (the material they use to fix a broken limbs). They then took that idea and developed it into Fiber Fix. Unlike casting tape, Fiber Fix is meant to be permanent and is designed to be dense and water tight.
“We actually did a lot of tests on the tape in BYU’s engineering lab,” Quinn said. “It was kind of fun to take random items, fix them with Fiber Fix, then put them underneath the hydraulic press. … We would then break it to see how many pounds of force Fiber Fix could take. … BYU was super helpful in helping us develop the product.”
Quinn went on to say his mentors at BYU have helped his team a great deal. They taught the entrepreneurs everything they needed to know in running a business, from hiring and firing to selling product.
The problems they found with duct tape is it’s not durable and, thus, more temporary. It is a quick fix to a long-term problem. This is where Quinn and Rowley thought they could get their niche.
“We partnered up with a large industrial farm here in Utah. They took our initial product and tested it out on several things and helped us work out the kinks so that we can have what we have today, which is the finalized product,” Rowley said.
Quinn and Rowley wanted to raise money to help finance their growth so they entered into a number of entrepreneurship competitions. They won many of them, including BYU’s New Venture Challenge and Harvard’s international business model competition. They even went to Washington D.C. to win the Global Entrepreneur of the Year award.
They became popular quickly and were even offered $120,000 in cash when they were featured on ABC’s Shark Tank.
“Our plans for the future are to continue to spread Fiber Fix throughout the world,” Rowley said, “international distribution and through retailers in the United States. It’s a lot about sales right now … we are in Home Depot and will soon be in Lowe’s.”
The product is in about 400 independent hardware locations including Ace Hardware and True Value hardware stores across the country.
“Every household in America should have a couple of rolls of Fiber Fix,” Rowley said.
Rowley said the company is growing quickly because of its competitive advantage.
“For budding entrepreneurs … I think that the biggest mistake that I made, and I think a lot of entrepreneurs make, is that we all have an idea, and we become married to that idea,” Quinn said. “We don’t ever validate early on that there is actually a demand for the idea. … I think validating that customer pain point early on is absolutely crucial.”