Niche Product: Teecil

All golfers know what a golf tee is. It is a piece of wood that is pushed into the ground, the golf ball is placed on it, and the golfer hits the ball off it using a club. The idea sounds quite simple. However, one young inventor has decided to give it another purpose.

Stephen Squillante was sick of carrying a pencil in one ear and a tee in another while golfing. That is when his brain began to work. He knew there had to be a solution, but what? The solution he created is Teecil. It is a golf tee and a pencil combined, reports

Squillante, a business major, said he began to take the idea of turning his idea into a start-up company seriously last year, when a professor encouraged him to patent the Teecil. He gave up much of his summer to build 2,000 prototypes, cutting the tips off regulation golf tees, drilling holes into them, hammering pencil graphite into the holes, and then sticking the tee into a pencil sharpener.

He then handed out the samples to players at golf courses for field tests.

When Squillante first gave his product to golfers to test, many didn’t know quite what to make of it, he said. People weren’t used to breaking their golf pencils on their tee-offs, Squillante said, and they didn’t immediately understand that — as with regular golf tees — they could just grab another one.

Squillante eventually found an investor who helped pay to have 100,000 Teecils fabricated by a manufacturer. He will give some of them away at the golf show, and he plans to sell the rest online — at prices comparable to those of regular golf tees.

Even if the product doesn’t take off, the process of launching a business has been a valuable part of his education, Squillante said.

Photo by Lu

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