Home » Episode #436: From Meal Prep to RINGO: With Serial Entrepreneur Chris Place

Live from the floor of the March 2023 IHRSA Trade Show in San Diego, host Pete Moore interviews long time friend and serial entrepreneur, Chris Place, Founder and CEO of RINGO.

Chris got inspired to create his incredibly innovative product by a gathering of friends in the Florida Keys. During their reunion, they struggled to capture a group photo on a small boat while trying to lean the phone up against their water bottle. (Can you relate?!) This sparked an idea – why not create a water bottle that could also hold a phone very securely?

Chris and team started sketching and soon recognized the multitude of uses the product has for those who don't want to lug around a tripod (many of which are now not permitted in gyms anyway!)  The response has been overwhelmingly positive, they have secured design patents, and are currently awaiting a utility patent. Chris's product not only solves a common problem but is also "over engineered" with meticulous attention to detail, making it difficult to replicate. 

The company is completely self funded and, having gone through this previously, Place states, "In this early stage, 'sales solves everything' is the motto. If you just don't sell, everything stops. If the moment you stop getting that revenue in, you're looking at your employees and thinking, 'Oh, someone's going to have to go here' and nobody wants that."

Some key moments: 

  • Water bottle turns into portable phone tripod.
  • Surprising interest in corporate promotional collaboration opportunities.
  • Outsourcing, low labor, focus on marketing.
  • Embracing vulnerability leads to personal growth.
  • T-shirts, water bottles spur brand loyalty.

A few key takeaways: 

  1. Chris is a serial entrepreneur in the consumer products industry. His previous venture, a lunchbox company called Prep'd, achieved $5 million in sales in its first year.
  2. Chris has now developed a water bottle called Ringo which also functions as a tripod for your phone. It's designed with durability and functionality in mind, using high-quality materials that are "over engineered" according to Place.  
  3. The idea came from the frustrating experience of trying to take a group photo on a boat and struggling to prop up the phone with a water bottle. The goal was to create a versatile and reliable product for those who want to take photos without carrying a tripod.

Click here to download transcript.  

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