Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

A startup's seaworthy plan

When Fortune Small Business checked back in with a 2006 student-run startup, we found a company holding steady and landing major clients like Smith & Wesson.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)

betz_lobsinger.03.jpg
Betz (left) and Lobsinger stay afloat.

(Fortune Small Business) -- Float Tech, a Troy, N.Y., firm that makes boating outerwear with zip-in inflatable life-jacket linings, began in 2003 as an MBA project at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

When Fortune Small Business met team members Cecilia Domingos, CEO; Jeffrey Betz, COO; and Michael Lobsinger, CTO (see "Stylish and slim life jackets?," March 2006), they had just won Coast Guard approval, an important quality-assurance mark, for their product. Float Tech sold about $500,000 worth of gear in 2006, mostly to marine-equipment retailers.

Once Float Tech's patent came through in July 2006, the firm charted a new course. Domingos left to move with her family, and Betz and Lobsinger hired a veteran CEO to replace her: local entrepreneur Judith Wheeler.

"We're a class-project-turned-company, so we needed someone like Judith with 30 years of retail experience," says Betz, 34.

Float Tech now focuses on licensing its products to larger apparel brands and landing commercial accounts such as Smith & Wesson (SWHC) (which sells branded Float Tech jackets to hunters and fishers). Revenues were flat at about $500,000 last year. But the firm expects that to change as it enters into new and profitable licensing deals. To top of page

Startup showdown 2008: 36 winning business plans

Ultimate ski jackets

Where are they now?: 2007 business plan winners
To write a note to the editor about this article, click here.

Find Business Answers
or
Ask a Question






QMy dream is to launch my own business someday. Now that it's time to choose a major, I'm debating if I should major in entrepreneurial studies or major in engineering to acquire a set of skills first. Is majoring in entrepreneurship a good choice? More
Get Answer
- Spate, Orange, Calif.
Sponsors
Super Bowl bound? Things to do in Houston besides the big game If you're one of the thousands of fans are headed to Houston for the Super Bowl Sunday, here are five things to do when you're not at the stadium. More
Sneak peek at Super Bowl 51 ads The ghost of Spuds MacKenzie and an ad about immigration steal the show in the swell of upcoming Super Bowl ads. Advertisers are paying, on average, $5 million for 30-second spots during Sunday's game on Fox. But if you want to watch something other than commercials, the New England Patriots happen to be playing the Atlanta Falcons. More
Most expensive cars from the Scottsdale collector car auctions The ten most expensive cars sold at the annual Arizona collector auctions went or a total of $44 million. More