May 12, 2012

Founding the new Jellypods company

Posted in Corporate, Funding, News, Production, Prototyping, Registered Designs, Uncategorized at 10:18 am by Kilo

Yesterday was an interesting day –  we founded the new Jellypods company here in Germany.

The German company formation process is a little bit complicated, involving the founders, three lawyers, a notary, a tax advisor and a bank manager, as well as some initial cash.

But as of yesterday the company is officially formed in Munich, with 25,000 EUR in initial capital and the objective of trading in silicone goods:-

It has taken several weeks to figure out what is the right form – and even country – to incorporate, and needed the help of specialized tax lawyers to ensure we did not screw up any future liabilities by founding in the wrong way or in the wrong place.

Once the basic decisions were taken, the whole founding process is managed by a German Notar – a notary – who makes sure all the key legal points are fully covered during the founding, and affixes a stamp to the documents to show that the founding has been done correctly.

All this process takes several weeks and has cost about 5,000-6,000 EUR in total, plus the 25,000 EUR capital injection into the company, and of course a reasonable amount of our time.

We now have to look at a few other legal steps, like transferring or licencing the trademarks and registered designs, which were registered personally, to the operating company. More tax and legal advice required soon!

But those are largely side issues, and we hopefully can now move on with the next steps, which involve taking prototype IV to a more refined, finished product. It is getting close – not close enough, but more real with each passing day/week/month.

July 3, 2011

Jellypods Zipper Mk II/III under way

Posted in CAD/CAM, Design, Materials, Modelling, Prototyping, Uncategorized at 4:52 pm by Kilo

It has been a pretty quiet few weeks on the Jellypods blog, but behind the scenes there is lots of work going on to fix the zipper issues we discovered in the first prototypes revealed in the last few blog posts from the China trip.

Below you can see a shot of the first zipper molded in hard silicone, which was very bulky, unwieldy and despite looking good in CAD, did not work at all.

So after a few days of hard thinking, we went back  to an original concept from a few months back and our friends in China molded a protoype of that old deisgn to see if some new ideas and materials would work in practise.

The Mark II zipper has been moulded in a special mix of hard plastics and other special materials, and bonded to a rough of the top of a Jellypods body. This zipper was never really expected to work fully functionally, it was what Formula One teams call a “mule” – a development half-breed between a racehorse and a donkey:

Although never expected to be brought to life in final form, this mule gives us is enough solid information to move forward with the Mk III zipper, which will hopefully be a big step forward and close-to-final.

And the sketches for that design, which were worked up in a notebook  on an airplane flying between Sydney and San Francisco, are already sent to our partners for working up in to CAD and moving forward to the next steps.

Check out the next blog for more details!

March 20, 2011

Filing registered designs for Jellypods

Posted in Design, Frequent Flyer, News, Registered Designs, Trademarks, Uncategorized at 9:13 am by Kilo

This week we spent a little money (about $500) on registering the core design of Jellypods with a European Registered Community Design, also known as an RCD.

This registration, which was granted in just 3 days and is now in force, covers the look and feel of the design in 27 European countries with just one application.

A similar, but slightly more involved process existing in the USA and other major markets, and those are also in progress right now. This is a fairly simple thing to do; all you need are some good sketches of the product from a range of angles.

We’ve written before about how these kinds of simple protections, which are much simpler than utility patents, can help defend the value being created by a novel design. Another good example is the Poachpod by Fusionbrands, who have successfully defended their designs against knockoffs both in the UK and USA. It’s encouraging that these protections can be granted very rapidly, as a real utility patent can take years to be granted, leaving an inventor at the mercy of copycats.

What is fascinating about the Jellypods story is the range of new things we are learning from day to day, with the trademarking and design registration process being just one example.

January 30, 2011

Don’t forget to register for private updates

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:19 am by Kilo

Many followers of this blog already know they can get occasional private updates on email by registering at www.jellypods.com.

If you haven’t already registered, why not take 30 seconds to do so right now, and you’ll be certain to get all the private updates that won’t appear on this blog – especially important if you are interested in

  • being one of the first 25 Jellypods field testers
  • being one of the first to be offered a small stake in Jellypods
  • more news about our development into a real business
  • special deals and offers for “Founder Followers”
  • inside news on deals for frequent flyers

Just click here to sign up today: www.jellypods.com

December 31, 2010

We’ve chosen a manufacturing partner

Posted in Airlines, Business model, Luggage, Materials, Packaging, Production, Prototyping, Uncategorized at 4:53 pm by Kilo

It’s official: we’ve chosen a manufacturing partner to help us finally bring Jellypods to life.

It’s taken quite a while to get to this stage, almost a full year since the first scribbles in a notebook, and a large part of that process has been finding and settling on the production partner.

It’s been an interesting journey in understanding production issues and developing various criteria in choosing a good quality supplier. We’ve been lucky in that one of the companies we were considering has been very very positive from the first moment, and has some great references in liquid silicone so we were able to see products they have produced before actually in our hands.

Now we are just waiting for final CAD outputs, which have focussed on final refinements and optimizing the weight of the Jellypods, so that we don’t have a huge beast of a bag to ship around the planet. In fact, this is in a way a kind of cost optimization exercise, and we’ve been able to take about 15% off the weight, which saves a fair bit of raw material cost and therefore helps us to meet out cost target almost exactly on the button we set about 9 months ago. 

Those refinements have taken a little time to get right, but we’ll get there very soon, and over the next few days contracts and purchases orders for moulds, samples and first production runs will be flying across the globe, and soon we’ll be heading out on a trip to visit the factory and meeting our new partners. That will be a very interesting series of visits, as we have to travel across the globe to get there – stay tuned for more updates in the New Year.

November 14, 2010

Overcoming production challenges

Posted in Airlines, Blue Ocean, CAD/CAM, Design, Frequent Flyer, Luggage, Production, Uncategorized at 9:57 am by Kilo

Now when you just naively look at Jellypods, you might think: “it’s just a simple little bag made of silicone – easy”.

And to be honest that was also our initial thinking; how hard could it be?

Well, we now know the answer is “quite hard”.

Making Jellypods involves a number of tricky steps that are non-obvious and several design considerations took weeks to figure out.

The main technical issue we face is manufacturing the huge internal cavity via a tiny opening. This creates issues in ensuring the materials being used can be vulcanized, and ultimately extracted from the machines being used to make them, and is actually the trickiest thing we have to address. We have even considered inventing a new technique called “inflation molding” to get around this issue, which is a huge problem.

Another issue is ensuring Jellypod stay closed and remain watertight. After dozens of iterations we arrived at a quite novel solution that not only offers a doubly-secure locking mechanism but that also give the user of the Jellypods a much better degree of watertight-ness.

It’s almost silly the amount of thinking that goes into these things – something as simple as the radius of a circular bump on the closure, or the opening pull tab angles – but those details are what will make this product really sing.

November 6, 2010

Jellypods trademark granted

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:26 am by Kilo

So, after a few months of silence, a little piece of news: The Jellypods name is now trademarked in 26 EU countries

Jellypods trademark registration certificate

It’s a little bit meaningless compared to other things, and cost several hundred EURO to get through, but it is a little step forward. There are a couple of other names that will also registered soon, for other ideas that spring off this one.

April 17, 2010

Working on the zipper

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:25 am by Kilo

One the most tricky things about realizing the Jellypods concept has been making a top opening slot that does all the things we need it to do and that can actually be manufactured. No other part of the Jellypod has been as tricky to design, and we have been through more iterations on that element than anything else.

Below you can see another 3D render of an intermediate design, now featuring the logo de-bossed into the membrane skin. This is a solid wireframe, without true colour and transparency, showing an alternate closure mechanism:-

This was one of the versions we took to 3D printing on an Objet (we will be posting pictures of that prototype in a couple of days). And we are quite happy that we did, because it showed up some flaws in the operation of this design that helped us make the Jellypods better. Who would have thought that a simple bag could be so complex? Even little things like the integrated pull tabs used to open this version needed several iterations to get the shape, height, and position just right!

It just goes to show that seemingly simple products quite often need a lot of work to get to the point where they seem so simple – there is a delicate balance between making something that looks cool, making something that works well and making something that you can produce on machines in a factory. And when we took early designs like this out to specialists in the manufacturing technique we are using, we got some very helpful advice on the feasibility of the design in production that helped us adjust the design. More on that subject, as well as some nice shots from inside the factories, in future posts.

March 14, 2010

Jellypods to the rescue

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:40 pm by Kilo

So. Here we are. The very first blog entry from Jellypods.

Right now it is nothing more than an idea and some rough sketches and a logo, but from those small acorns we hope to grow a mighty oak.

It will all be a bit mysterious and vague for a while, but as time passes this blog will help you understand what we are doing.

Stay tuned.