In her freshman year at Newsome High School, Kelly Shea was traveling when one of her pump bottles spilled in her bag. Shea’s experience is not out of the ordinary, especially for frequent travelers, but her experience sparked an idea for a product that would lock the pump on similar bottles to prevent spills, and so the idea for DripLock was born.
Shea is now a sophomore at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and used its innovation lab last year to create a prototype for DripLock. Shea’s motivation to invent a product to solve her problem came from her love for Shark Tank and extra free time during quarantine.
“I was on campus, but all of my classes were online, so I was bored a lot because I had nothing else to do. So, I just contacted the innovation lab at UCF. They had someone show me how to make a car on a 3D modeling software, just to show me basics, and I made my product,” explained Shea.
Following the creation of the initial model for DripLock, Shea submitted the model to two competitions run through the Blackstone LaunchPad at UCF, a nonprofit organization that cultivates entrepreneurial skills in their students. Last year, Shea placed second in Blackstone’s Big Ideas Competition and fourth in The Joust, where she was the youngest competitor in UCF history to make it to the finals.
By placing in both competitions, she earned funding and gained feedback from professionals. She said one of the most important pieces of advice given to her was to make the product stackable to fit differently sized shafts on the bottles rather than trying to create differently sized products.
Following her success in Blackstone’s competitions, she was offered a job as the prototype development coach, where she helps students with unique ideas start businesses.
“The innovation lab is separate from the Blackstone Launchpad … I kind of started a bridge between the two,” said Shea.
Her product now has its own website and customers, and travelers can purchase DripLock for $19.99.
For more information on Kelly Shea’s product and her story, visit buydriplock.com.