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Area Entrepreneur Launches SUPERBUMPER

By Andrew LaBorde

Andrew LaBorde has always dreamed of owning his own business ever since he can remember. And, thanks to friends and family, he launched his first company, Gene LLC, this past May with his first product, the SUPERBUMPER, a patent-pending protective case for iPhones and iPads, which will be available beginning Aug. 19 via online pre-orders.

In October of 2009, LaBorde I was hired by the Apple Inc. retail store in Syracuse, N.Y. He drove to Olean on a monthly basis, each time encountering a logistic problem every time he used his iPhone to listen to music in the car.

LaBorde said, “The connection port on my iPhone became damaged because my AM/FM tuner, the device that allowed me to listen to music over the radio, would always slide around, get bumped, and come unplugged … The connection still worked but only if there was pressure holding the charger into it. Eventually I had to start bending my cable and leaning the device against objects for it to charge. I didn’t have a better solution so I dealt with it.”

As he thought about this nagging problem, he realized that “any type of protective case currently on the market could be altered to hold onto the charger and that would work perfectly to fix the issue.”

He knew others had to have had similar experiences and that a well-designed case with the ability to hold the charger into the device stood a solid chance of gaining market share if produced.

“I sketched out and engineered a few case designs that I thought might fix the issue and prevent it from happening in the future,” said LaBorde. He then built three prototypes for testing, choosing to continue with the one using a silicone “bumper” case.

To safeguard his design, he applied for and received a provisional patent, granting him one year of protection. While awaiting approval, he interviewed industrial design teams to create 3-D CAD drawings of his product.

Drawings in hand, LaBorde began working with manufacturers and product development companies on tooling, production and creating a final prototype for testing. Additionally, Gene, LLC will manufacture their products entirely in the U.S.

Beginning Aug. 19, you can pre-order the SUPERBUMPER iPhone/iPad case online at indiegogo.com/SUPERBUMPER and kickstarter.com, keyword SUPERBUMPER. Costs are for $15 and $25, respectively, with initial prices $10 lower than once they reach the market.

The SUPERBUMPER case has a hard outer shell for sturdy protection and a soft silicone rubber lining for a shock-absorbing medium. Moreover, the SUPERBUMPER word logo will protrude through a cutout in the hard outer shell, giving a small rubber surface area for increased grip.

Once the pre-order phase is completed and the production run is in progress, LaBorde will focus on marketing and distributing his product throughout Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Additionally, Ellicottville resident Jeremy Camilloni, a Fredonia State University senior marketing student who currently runs his own eBay sales website and plans to form his own marketing company, said he “was interested in the design” and “wants to sell it” on his own site.

For more information about the SUPERBUMPER, visit the company website at www.genecases.com or e-mail LaBorde at andrew@genecases.com.

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