Drexel Entrepreneur Creates a Healthier Coffee Cup
With Clip N' Go lids, Patrick Bowlin wants to change coffee consumption for the better.
February 2, 2015
by Zach Epstein
Patrick Bowlin has lofty goals. As a mechanical engineering major, he hopes to one day create revolutionary innovations. Big or small, Bowlin sees his career in entrepreneurship as an avenue to do one thing: help people. And with one fateful swig of hot chocolate, he's well on his way.
The inventor of Clip N' Go lids saw coffee consumption not just as a habit, but as a potential public health crisis. After discovering how many germs could spread via a product that millions of people use each day, he took it upon himself to invent a solution. We caught up with the California native to talk about his first product launch — a coffee lid that attaches to its cup, cutting down on interaction with harmful bacteria.
How’d you think of the idea for Clip N' Go lids? When did it come to you?
I thought of this idea when I was sitting in class drinking my hot chocolate. I took a sip and it was too hot. When I removed the lid, I had nowhere to place it because the desk I was at was gross and I didn't want to just hold it in my hand. It was then that I thought of the idea to have a clip on the side of the lid allowing you to never have to set it down again.
What kind of research did you to do see how the spread of germs is exacerbated by coffee lids? What alarmed you most?
As for the germs, I researched studies that dealt with germs in coffee shops, restaurants and public places. That was then when I found out that coffee condiment counters contain bacteria such as E. Coli, fecal matter, and vaginal yeast. This was definitely what alarmed me most.
How did you develop the idea in Launch It!? Take us through your experience with the class.
I merely had an idea and a prototype when I entered in the Launch It! class. From there, I was able to be mentored and guided to filling a patent, finding a market, and creating the exact path to success of which I am on now. The class was incredible. I could have never thought that in 10 weeks I would go from having a prototype, to having a patent pending and have a meeting with Wawa this week.
What are your ultimate goals for your career as an entrepreneur? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
My ultimate goal as an entrepreneur is to improve something for society. Whether it just be a coffee lid or something greater, I merely want to make a difference in the world that even just one person appreciates and it makes their life a little easier.
In 10 years, I would like to have a couple different products licensed out to various companies and continuing to innovate and create new things everyday.