How a College Party Led to a $500K Invention
Simple DropCatch grabs bottle caps to ease cleanup
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 5, 2014 6:21 AM CDT
A screen shot from a demo video of DropCatch.   (YouTube/DropCatch)

(Newser) – When a pair of college roommates were cleaning up after a party, there were bottle caps everywhere, so they picked them up with a magnet. Fast forward a few years, and the two have turned the magnet trick into a simple $60 invention—and they've sold $500,000 worth of the things, the Chicago Tribune reports. The device is called DropCatch, and it involves a bottle opener attached to a piece of wood containing a magnet. When partiers open their bottles, the caps drop right onto the wood, and they stay there.

Joe Walsh, who invented the device with University of Illinois buddy Kent Frayn, says DropCatch can hold 60 bottle caps. Each cap ends up magnetized itself, so that it can hold the next one. "It’s a conversation piece," Walsh, 24, notes. The two worked other jobs after college, but eventually decided to see if they could fund their project on Kickstarter: "Never again will a bottle top be lost to the black abyss under your sofa," they proclaim on the site. They aimed for $10,000 in funding, which they managed within 36 hours, Walsh notes. They now have an assembly shop in Chicago; their site proudly proclaims "Made in the USA." (In other new inventions for your kitchen, "smart chopsticks" identify food you won't want to eat.)