Christopher Rice had a problem.
He was working in the oil fields in North Dakota, and his cellphone charger cable kept breaking.
“If you’ve ever been to North Dakota, there is nothing there,” Rice said. “The closest Walmart from where we lived was an hour-and-a-half away, and Amazon did not offer two-day shipping.”
Rather than pay the marked-up prices on chargers at convenience stores, Rice created “Angled,” an attachment that prevents the cable from breaking in the first place.
Angled, a small circular piece of plastic, is placed on the charger where the cable meets the phone plug. This prevents the wire from bending in a way that makes it likely to break.
The attachment comes in various designs, featuring emojis, food, sports and more, to help identify your charger from someone else’s.
In 2019, Rice, who now lives in Macon, was named to the Mercer Innovation Center’s fourth class of fellows. As a fellow, Rice receives funding, office space, paid student interns, mentoring and more to help him grow his business.
With the Center’s help, Rice has created RiceTech LLC, the parent company of Angled. He also has filed for a patent and been able to purchase much–needed equipment and machinery.
Because of the fellowship, Rice said, he doesn’t have to focus on many of the expenses that come with running a business, like utilities and labor.
“I can literally take my money and invest it back in the company to help grow it,” he said.
Rice first sold Angled in a group he belonged to on Facebook and later at the Downtown Open Air Market in Macon. The design has evolved over the years as Rice has improved upon it based on customer feedback.
While an earlier version of Angled was made using a 3-D printer and then hand painted, Rice recently purchased an injection mold machine that he uses to manufacture the charger attachment in his office at the Mercer Innovation Center.
Designs will be placed on the product with the help of FireStarter FABLab, a community innovation space in Warner Robins.
Besides selling directly to consumers, Rice is launching promotional Angled products on which businesses may have their company name or logo printed.
You can buy the newest version of Angled, which will fit iPhone and Android chargers, for $4.99 at www.angledprotect.com. Businesses interested in promotional products should visit www.ricetechllc.com.
Rice ultimately hopes his company will create products that solve other problems, as well.
“I came up with Angled just because I got frustrated one day,” he said. “The plan is to brainstorm at least once a week about problems and see if there are any solutions to those problems that could potentially be a product, because usually the easiest problems to solve are things happening every day.”
Rice said his main goal with RiceTech is to not only create innovative products but also give back to the community by providing high–paying jobs, training and education, as well as volunteering with different organizations across Middle Georgia.