Startup Spotlight: Serranoventions and the Canoodle

 

Serranoventions

Headquarters: Miami

Concept: Invent, design, develop and manufacture consumer products.

Story: As a child, Serranoventions’ founder German Serrano developed an innate ability to enhance current products and toys or develop new ones in his father’s shop. After 20 years in the logistics industry and building a multi million-dollar transportation business, he decided to create Serranoventions and bring some of the never before seen products to life. “On my 40th birthday, I decided to pursue my dream,” said Serrano. “It is never too late.”

One of Serranoventions’ first products: the Canoodle, strong floatable connectors that allow children to use pool noodles to build basketball hoops, water polo goals, forts, boats, whatever their imaginations can dream up. “We’re binging back the good. We grew up drinking out of water hoses, playing outside till sunset, we’re trying to bring back those days,” said Serrano.

All the company’s products — currently 10 plus several in the pipeline — are proudly made in the USA and come with a lifetime warranty.

Launched: January 2012

Management team: Serrano, founder/president and CEO; Juliana Vargas, founder/vice president of business development; Alex Tellez, founder/director of finance/board member; Andres Villegas, director of operations.

No. of employees: 12

Financing: $1.2 million from private equity investors and own management team. “We are seeking further investment from strategic investors only with ties to national retail opportunities,” Serrano said.

Recent milestones reached: Successful launch of Canoodle pool toy product. Signed three deals with large North American retailers, including PinchAPenny and Canadian Tire. Has products placed on Amazon.com, starting this month, and in more than 5,000 stores. Recently set up packaging and fulfillment facility in Miami’s Lemon City.

Biggest startup challenge: Keeping up with inventory demands and continuing to find the right people and vendors for each new product.

Next step: Launching NuTumbler (a tumbler with a patent-pending mechanism that allows you to attach it to any smooth surface), and achieving Serranoventions product placement in 10,000 locations by year’s end.

Strategy for next step: Through its network of independent sale agents and corporate agreements, the company said it will continue beating the sales drum and turning retailers and consumers on to its products. Mike Cave of Florida Custom Mold in the Tampa area, its manufacturer that has been in business since 1979, already sees this strategy working. Cave said he has never seen a company start up so fast and attributes that to the CEO’s “ingenuity and gut feel for what customers need and what will sell.” He also lauded the quality of Serranoventions’ designs, which got a clean bill of health in consumer safety and reliability testing.

Websites: www.serranoventions.com and www.canoodletoy.com

Nancy Dahlberg

Startup Spotlight features early-stage South Florida-based companies that have hit significant milestones. To be considered for inclusion, email ndahlberg@miamiherald.com.

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