December 10, 2013

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Article

BYU Student Named Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year

By Heather Stewart

December 10, 2013


Provo — A student at Brigham Young University has found himself taking a more hands-on approach to his education. Spencer Quinn co-founded FiberFix, a company that makes a super-strong repair tape. He got the product stocked in thousands of hardware stores and then took it on Shark Tank and scored a deal. Most recently, he won a global student entrepreneur competition, pocketing a $150,000 prize.

Quinn was named the http://www.eonetwork.org/Pages/welcome.aspx">Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year (GSEA) in late November. The GSEA honors outstanding students who simultaneously attend university full-time while running their own businesses.

This year, 1,000 students from 37 countries participated in the process, which began with a series of regional competitions. Quinn first won the Utah Chapter title, then the Western States competition. From there he went on to compete in the global event, where he went head-to-head with 42 teams from more than 20 countries.

The competition was fierce, said Quinn. “There were all sorts of great, impressive companies. And the judges were “battle-tried, renowned entrepreneurs” who asked tough, perceptive questions.

Quinn describes FiberFix as “an easy-to-use, non-toxic, watertight repair wrap that is 100 times stronger than duct tape and hardens like steel in just minutes.” FiberFix is water activated, and is intended to replace temporary, weak tapes, as well as messy epoxies.

The product is currently stocked in 6,000 hardware stores across the country, including all Home Depot locations. Home Depot began a trial of FiberFix in a few hundred of its stores prior to Quinn’s Shark Tank appearance. Shortly after the show aired, the company agreed to stock it on all of its U.S. locations—a feat that Quinn said is difficult for a new product to achieve.

“[Shark Tank] helped us get the dominoes pushed over,” he said.

“Before we went on Shark Tank, we had a weakness in our team, and that was we didn’t know how to market a new consumer product on TV,” said Quinn. On Shark Tank, Quinn and co-founder Eric Child secured a deal with investor Lori Greiner, who offered $120,000 for 12 percent ownership of the company, along with an agreement to help finance inventory. On the show, Greiner touted her connections at QVC and said that network would be a good route for FiberFix to gain exposure.

But Quinn and Child already had a QVC appearance scheduled. In fact, Quinn said 4,500 units of FiberFix sold out within eight minutes on its initial QVC appearance. He said FiberFix will be featured on QVC once a month for the next few months. Its next appearance is scheduled for next Friday.

Utah stores have had trouble keeping up with demand for the product. “They’re having a really hard time keeping it in stock,” said Quinn. But he said the product is available for purchase on fiberfix.com. “We’ve been able to ramp up production to keep up with demand.”

Quinn said he was surprised at how quickly the product took off. “I honesty was not expecting it to grow this fast, and it’s been a challenge,” he said.

Still a senior at BYU, Quinn said balancing his school work with launching a wildly successful company has been tough. But “it enhances the education a lot because I can take what I learn and apply it at FiberFix the next day.”

The potential uses for FiberFix are extremely varied. Quinn said he’s seen it used to repair hot tubs and even a bull whip. In one demonstration, a galvanized pipe was cut in half and repaired with FiberFix. Then a snowmobile was suspended from the repaired pipe.

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