The road to success is paved with milestones, and local company, Wi-Fi Stand, just passed a major one - 100K in sales
Established in 2016, Wi-Fi Stand has grown into a wireless industry juggernaut, working with dozens of Fortune 100 and 500 companies such as Facebook, Verizon, Netflix, Live Nation, Google, Ticketmaster, and many other of the largest names in the tech industry.
The journey to create Wi-Fi Stand began at a Las Vegas conference but would eventually find its grounding in the Innovation Programs developed by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. Wi-Fi Stand developers, Drew Lentz and Eric Slosberg, would come to participate in the Chamber’s robust programs, progressing through the I&E Network Meetings, IdeaPlace initiative, and Innovation Grant competition.
It was by using these resources made available through the Chamber that the duo was able to take their idea from a napkin drawing and develop a product so unique, useful, and yet so intuitively simple.
When discussing the Innovation Programs, Drew Lentz was quick to express his gratitude for the services, stating, “The Innovation Programs were a fantastic experience. It helped us to flesh out our ideas, better understand more about what we were doing, and about how we could get our product out on market.”
Taking a Stand
Drew Lentz has always been a visionary. He caught the tech-bug in his youth and spent over 20 years learning the intricacies of the data delivery and wireless industries. A bit of a maverick, Drew recognized early on the need for unique solutions to complex problems, all while also being able to simplify convoluted tech concepts to the untrained.
This skill would prove to be the spur that would move Wi-Fi Stand forward.
It was while attending a conference in Las Vegas that Drew had his eureka moment. Not only seeing the need for additional access points that would allow event attendees to have Wi-Fi, he realized that a tool was also needed to hold the equipment in place.
It was here that the Wi-Fi Stand was born.
Working closely with his partner and an associate with a manufacturing facility, Drew began the development and prototype of the product. A universal mount made from industrial strength PVC, the Wi-Fi Stand provides for placement of wireless equipment in spots that wouldn’t traditionally accommodate for them, such as the middle of a football field.
Universal by nature, the product works with a wide variety of access point equipment including products by Cisco, Aruba, Fortinet, Ruckus Wireless, and other standard-sized routers. The Wi-Fi Stand bracket is then able to attach to standard tripods in seconds, requiring no tools, while being highly customizable and portable.
Once the initial iteration was created, the founders then began to spread the word, reaching out to bloggers and online influencers, as well as tech and business professionals, in an attempt to get as much feedback as possible.
The opportunities seemed endless. Wi-Fi Stand could be used at corporate events, conventions, outdoor events, and essentially all over the world, delivering secured Wi-Fi access to users.
But there was still another hurdle to cross. Financing the project.
IdeaPlace and Innovation Grant Bring Wi-Fi Stand to Life
Going through a number of McAllen Chamber’s Innovation Programs was essential to Wi-Fi Stand as it allowed them to gain valuable insight into not only their own product but the best manner to bring it into the marketplace. It was while advancing through the IdeaPlace program that Drew and Eric were able to create a seemingly simple but absolutely invaluable napkin drawing that would, in turn, develop into a business plan.
The partners were able to take all the meaningful knowledge gained by participating in the Innovation Programs, along with their business plan, and submit their idea to the McAllen Chamber of Commerce’s Innovation Grant competition in 2017. Facing fierce competition, Wi-Fi Stand would eventually emerge as one of six champions, winning $10,000 in seed money that would eventually go to legal fees and purchasing quality supplies to create their product.
With the $10,000 Innovation Grant and a small investment of their own, Drew Lentz and Eric Slosberg have hustled hard to turn their initial funding into $100K in revenue and earn international recognition. Wi-Fi Stand can now be found across five continents in 22 countries around the globe.
And there’s still more to come. Drew and Eric’s team of innovators are developing a bevy of new products designed to make Wi-Fi Stand an all-in-one, self-deployed, Wi-Fi access point provider. There’s a reason why the company obtained a Tech Startup Spotlight at SXSW in 2017.