Travel Guitars Spinoff
In winter semester of 2014, Ian Klosowiak, an undergraduate student in BYU's mechanical engineering department took a plastics materials and processing course offered by the Manufacturing Engineering Technology (MET) program. A significant portion of the course is making a project of the student's choice using all the new skills learned in the class along with the resources offered in BYU's plastics and composites lab. Ian had a dream for a backpacker's / traveler's guitar made from carbon fiber composites and made a prototype for his project. He spent that summer traveling through Europe and then back in Utah, constantly carrying and playing his prototype, and heard a lot of positive comments on the guitar. In the fall semester later that same year, he took another course offered by MET, dedicated to composites, and made a second refined prototype for his class project based on all the feedback he'd received. At this point he was beginning to think about commercialization, even if the original dream involved just his own guitar. He began talking with materials suppliers to understand what it would take to startup a production company and got his brother involved on the business side of things. That spring they won $20K at a Princeton University business competition and the opportunity to receive mentoring throughout the summer. They also raised $34K in a "Kickstarter" campaign, which provided funding to setup the company and hire summer interns to help with manufacturing. They continue manufacturing guitars today, which they sell on their website (klosguitars.com) and are also partnered with the Arnold Foundation to distribute guitars for music therapy for US veterans, kids, and students. All starting from a dream and a couple BYU class projects.