Success Stories

Melni Innovation Group

Twin Falls

Mark Melni

“I’m an inventor.” said Mark Melni of Melni Innovation Group, “When I first started this process, I became acutely aware of how a product affects the marketplace and how complicated it is to bring a new product into reality.” Melni is referring to his invention, The Melni Electrical Connector, an electrical connector with a design concept similar in principal to a Chinese finger trap. A simple twist of the invention’s end caps produces an electrical connection.

Melni began thinking about his invention after watching an elderly friend splicing wires. This is done by putting two separate wires into a hollow tube, which is then clamped shut with pliers. It is a time consuming, tedious process. The idea for the Melni Electrical Connector came to Melni while he was on the phone. He had threaded his pencil through the phone cord coils and realized, “That’s it.”

Now he had the idea, but not how to make it a reality. He realized what a daunting task that would be and, therefore, turned to the team at the Small Business Development Center. “They have been with me every step of the way,” Melni explained. “I met with Bryan Matsuoka and his team to discuss if this was doable. They helped me identify the potential of this invention and then put me in touch with the people I needed to make this happen. I have used and networked with the professionals they recommended.”

“The SBDC helped me to determine if this invention was worth sinking all I have into it. I could not have made that decision without their in-put. I cannot say enough about what a tremendous resource they have been for me throughout this process and I am still working closely with them.”

In May 2010, the Melni Innovation Group was voted the Entrepreneurial Idol for the State of Idaho at the Idaho TechLaunch 7.0 competition. They received a $10,000 cash prize, as well as website assistance. A panel of judges selected The Melni Innovations electrical connector technology as the technology in the State of Idaho in which they would most likely invest.

In addition, the Boise Angel Fund, an angel investing group that seeks to invest in high-growth potential early-stage Idaho companies, is considering opening its fund for the first time in its history to a pre-revenue “opportunity” with the Melni technology.

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