The product is used to get ahold of hard to reach items but now the inventor of ODii, the grab-it gadget, is hoping it can also lend a hand in conquering a couple of dragons.
Or, at the very least, help win them over.
North Vancouver resident Kenn Buxton will attempt such a feat Oct. 12 when he’ll appear on an episode of CBC’s popular entrepreneurial reality TV show, Dragons’ Den.
The episode was taped months ago, but Buxton only recently learned that his segment was good enough to make the final cut, which will be officially aired in October.
“I pitched, but I didn’t know if I’d make it on the air, but now it’s confirmed,” Buxton said. “I’m very excited for everybody to see my episode.”
The product he’ll be touting, called ODii, is supposed to function like an extension of one’s arm, offering a flexible four-pronged telescopic claw and a detachable magnet capable of zeroing in on metallic objects just out of reach.
There’s also a detachable LED light for those hard-to-see spaces.
Buxton explained that his product has a multitude of uses, but it all came together more than two years ago in an effort to combat a universal frustration: personal items getting lost, lodged, or falling just out of reach in the small crevices of one’s car.
“I was going through Tim Hortons with my daughter ... and then I went to go pay and when I reached to grab my money – I had one of those crisp, new five-dollar bills – and it slipped between my car seat and my console,” Buxton said about ODii’s origin.
When they were unable to retrieve the fallen money, Buxton said he had his “aha!” moment.
Since officially launching in 2015 following a successful Kickstarter campaign, Buxton has hustled to get ODii on Bed Bath & Beyond’s shelves across Canada, walmart.ca, and other retailers.
“My product won Best New Product in Housewares at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas,” he added. “That was a big award to win.”
He has also developed a larger 36-inch version of ODii to complement the 19-inch original model.
What he didn’t expect was the myriad ways in which people who have purchased ODii would use it – ways he didn’t conceive of originally.
“I just activated my Amazon U.K. accounts last night and I got an order right out of the gate and I checked the address and it was to a plumbing company in the U.K.,” he said, noting that the product has become a popular contraption used for clearing out drains or retrieving fallen items.
In addition, people with mobility issues, seniors looking for a little extra help and, of course, those predisposed to getting their keys, phone, credit card and coins stuck in tight spaces have been among ODii’s early adopters, he said.
A successful showing on Dragons’ Den could mean a huge leap forward for the already popular product.
“The biggest thing of being on the Dragons’ Den is the exposure,” Buxton said. “You have a really engaged audience watching that show. You’re educating them on the product ... and not only that, if you have Dragons interested it gives you credibility and builds trust with consumers.”
ODii is available online at myodii.com.