Avid outdoor adventurers Jon and Deirdre Rosenberg were frustrated during winter expeditions when the temperature would affect Deirdre’s photography.
“We’re from Minnesota, and we do a lot of winter camping. Deirdre’s a photographer, and all her camera batteries would drain in the cold. We thought there has to be a solution to this,” Jon said.
Using their experiences, Jon created small, lightweight, backpack-portable insulating containers that use AeroGel, a high R-value insulating material, used originally by NASA in spacesuits.
The PouchThe first product of the Rosenbergs’ new company, Cold Case Gear based out of their Pagosa Springs home, is the Pouch, now selling on Kickstarter for $35 with a projected delivery date of October.
An initial Pouch production run of 500 units, 300 to be sold on Kickstarter and 200 units that will retail for $60, is planned.
Cold Case Gear is looking to raise $9,500 on Kickstarter to fund development of five products including a hydration sleeve, a smartphone case, a fuel canister cozie and a heat-reflecting tarp.
Rosenberg said his firm’s ultimate goal is “to untether from temperature.” He added, “The whole idea of the Pouch is to isolate whatever is in it from the temperature.”
The Pouch, 7 inches by 4 inches by 4 inches, is meant for keeping snacks, electronics, batteries and other small items isolated from either cold or hot temperatures while people are recreating in the backcountry – either in Colorado’s 14ers or the deserts of Utah.
“It’s difficult on a 14er in winter to keep your water bottles from freezing. Camera batteries won’t drain in the cold. Diabetics have told me, ‘Oh wow, this is great; I can keep my insulin in it.’ The more people I talk to, the more use-case scenarios I hear that I hadn’t thought about,” Jon said.
The firm has a patent pending, and it expects U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approval in several months, Rosenberg said.
The Pouch will be manufactured in Michigan and shipped to Pagosa Springs, where Cold Case Gear will finish the units with hang tags and package them for shipment with literature about the firm and its other planned products, Rosenberg said.
Startups: New jobsMary Shepherd, executive director of Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center, said while the center doesn’t track the total number of startup companies in Southwest Colorado, the region has a “healthy ecosystem for entrepreneurial activity.”
In an email, she stated, “Our last two Starting Your Business workshops boasted the largest attendance we have ever seen for this workshop.”
Startups, she said, are critical for a healthy economy.
“Startups are responsible for almost all net new jobs and create much of the economic diversity. Because, ideally, a startup is created based on consumer demand that is not currently being met or is being inadequately met, startups drive much of the innovation that is occurring in creating new and better solutions,” she said.
She noted the SBDC offers technical assistance to business owners in the form of no-cost, confidential business consulting and no- or low-cost trainings.
As a statewide network with 15 SBDC centers across the state, Shepherd said her center can tap into consultants and resources from other areas as well as network specialty programs that aid in technological development, cybersecurity and other aspects of business development.
“At the startup stage, when risk tolerance is high and ownership structures are often fairly simple,” she said, “businesses are much more nimble in their operations and can pivot to meet consumer demands quickly, in ways that existing businesses, with legacy processes and broader financial accountability, have a harder time doing.”
‘I give myself deadlines’Rosenberg, who has held down a full-time job for the past 1½ years while he’s developed Cold Case Gear, said his main business development procedure has been “to write down lists of small, easy-to-accomplish goals” that will lead to reaching bigger goals. He added, “I give myself deadlines on when I want to accomplish something, like I want 3,000 Instagram followers by November 2019.
“It started out with me saying, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing,’” he said of the genesis of Cold Case.
He has since developed relationships for professional marketing services and a manufacturer in Michigan.
The most difficult attribute of developing Cold Case Gear, he said, is simply believing in himself.
“The biggest problem is getting in my own way and sabotaging my own momentum with doubt. I think, ‘I’m not an expert in this, I can’t do that,’” he said. “But then I talk to people and they say, ‘that’s supper cool.’ Most of the time we’re going after our dream, and we don’t know what it looks like day to day.”
firstname.lastname@example.org This article has been edited to correct the spelling of Deirdre Rosenberg.