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San Diego State University


JSD Industries

“JSD Industries exists to make prosthetic devices that give absolute stability to the user. We accomplish this by due diligence in testing limits and manufacturing tolerances in excess of industry standards.” - Michael A. Simonetti 

Day 1:

I am Michael A. Simonetti and I am a graduate student here at SDSU. My interests include promoting this device for use to a global dimension, with a price that is affordable at all socioeconomic levels. The inventor is Mr. Frank Jones and has been the ‘Focus Individual’ of my Master’s Degree certification in Assistive Technology (prosthetics, eyeglasses, hearing aids, etc.) for 18 months. Frank’s interests lie in the building of custom Harley Davidson motorcycles.

At 7:00 AM I get up, have a quick cup of coffee and then go for a 4 mile run. I return home to shower, then begin looking at my very detailed calendar to see what readings are due for my degree classes, what papers are supposed to be at what milestone points, etc. I make a bowl of oatmeal with honey and butter to flavor. Read, read, read, type, type, type, send emails, more coffee, read, read, go to class, and repeat. I try and stay busy at all times. I do not believe the ZIP project will hurt my scheduling and I simply have a good grasp on time management. I am retired from the military and so I can dedicate almost all of my time to academia. I take it very seriously as I move towards a degree. At the same time I am working on an invention that has brought about the very good possibility that I may never have to work again. If I am not in class I am parsing my time between the invention and research papers.

The JSD Industries invention came from a Special Studies class where we identified Mr. Jones daily pains. The single worst part of his day is attempting to shower while standing on one leg. The transition in and out of the tub is as equally dangerous. Shower chairs are ungainly and still do not eliminate the dangerous one-legged transition from the shower to the bathroom floor. We solved this problem with the Shower-Safe Base Foot and discovered along the way that this is also the worst part of daily bathing for most lower-limb amputees.

Day 2:

As soon as I showed the invention to my faculty advisor, Dr. Caren Sax, she walked me across campus to meet with Dr. DeNoble, Executive Director of SDSU’s Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, for consultation on how best to exploit the potential of the device. It was at this initial meeting where the term “ZIP” was mentioned.

The fact that we had come up with something that no one had ever thought of before, motivated us to work diligently in order to meet the ZIP Launchpad requirements. We realized that if we could keep the cost of this brutally spartan device low, a device that works without the need of high technology, we could truly make it available to all socioeconomic levels around the globe.

Networking access via the ZIP has been spot-on in quickly finding someone with previous experience in the same problems you are having at the moment. The digital required readings that, if one really dives into, explain to the neophyte business person the concept of a ‘lean start up’ have been, to myself anyway, the greatest asset. I read them all at least four times each over the summer. This method of reading ensures that I really do understand the process behind a start up. Bare bones but viable in business to start. Again, I cannot state this with more emphasis; do the required readings.

Now the hardest thing about being an entrepreneur… My learning curve on the subject of business is a straight line. Trying to find out the exact reason why a prosthetic leg should cost $50,000.00 has evaded us. It makes no sense, and so, we are trying to the best of our ability to keep the price as low as possible, below the industry standard $300.00 for a prosthetic ‘wet foot’. The excessive greed is stunning, as we experienced legal problems within one month of  becoming a ‘legal entity’. One month into our endeavor and we had to pay to have a novice mistake corrected from trusting the wrong person. It really just put a dent into our view of the world of business and humanity in general.

        The best part of becoming an entrepreneur is actually having our name attached to an invention as creators of a life-changing device that improved the daily lives of all lower-limb amputees. A plus side of the invention is that Mr. Jones will soon be able to take care of himself independently as a lower-limb amputee and be able to take care of the physical damages done since the amputation. Damages that arose from standing on one leg in the shower for decades as well as hopping around on one home. It is a time management problem that income from this invention will allow him to improve his daily life.

Day 3

I never, ever, wanted to be an entrepreneur. This business venture has been a lucky collision of mechanical aptitude and collegiate-level research that has literally been thrown into our laps. Just because I may not want to be an entrepreneur, it would be foolish to ignore such an opportunity to actually help people with disabilities.

“Increased safety, efficiency, mobility, reliability, and operational simplicity over it’s competitors” is our mission statement. JSD Industries is a design and manufacturing service firm which provides comprehensive and personalized prosthetics for individuals and businesses. We have the ability to provide our clients with strong, stable products and diverse services. We offer individualized prosthetic products and services through social media contact, local/country-wide news coverage, and word of mouth through credentialed associates. Whether your needs are limited to a single prosthetic or a comprehensive rehabilitation plan, we invite you to consider JSD Industries for all your prosthetic needs.

JSD Industries is different due to the myriad of Federal and State Agencies that we must get approval from before we can even think of selling our device. The Food And Drug Administration, CA Department of Public Health, Medical Device Licensing & Registration, U.S. Patent Office, Patent law, Corporate law, and Tax Compliance are but a few of the entities involved. They each “wet their beak” in the project because they all extract heavy costs involved with getting their approval for selling a device to the public.

At this time we are only at the word-of-mouth stage in marketing due to the fact that we are at the 3D printed plastic prototypes stage, but are ready for testing of our metal prototype. Once this is complete, we can then begin to determine the best way to saturate the market with advertising.

  Conflicts in the workplace? Never. Frank and I have been friends for 18 years. I know that he has run many successful businesses and I follow his lead when it comes to business decisions in conjunction with input from the ZIP Launchpad faculty. For five months now we have been working closely to launch our business with no conflict. We know what the other is thinking. We have been mechanics for over twenty years each. It was our combined mechanical abilities, and Frank’s genius as seen in the simplicity of the ‘Shower-Safe base Foot’. The foot, when used in conjunction with our ‘Lightning Disconnect', becomes a true removable, stable shower foot. I reflect this in the research paper that was part of the study. Frank also has an array of past and current inventions, all of which we are hoping to be able to pivot into once the Shower Foot begins to grow in popularity and use.

Day 4

In ten years...

Pivoting off of Frank’s other inventions, we hope to have developed enough capital to have our own matching and manufacturing facilities; a green-compliant facility that uses recycled components or new agricultural discoveries to make the Shower-Safe Base Foot in varying lengths. Made from recycled plastic bottles and automobile tires, the designs would come in lengths of two, four, six or eight inch lengths. Additionally, they would all fit our Lightning Disconnect and cost around four or five dollars at most. We want to break the mold on high priced prosthetic devices for lower-limb amputees with an affordable but reliable device that could be found in pharmacies around the globe. Especially important would be to make it available for free as donations, to countries like Cambodia, where people are still losing limbs to land mines from a war decades ago. We want to be the manufacturer of prosthetics all can look to, as actually putting the customer of primary concern in the formula for keeping the cost of our prosthetics low.

Diary of an Entrepreneur

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be an entrepreneur? Well now you can get an insight on what it’s like! Read about our ZIP Launchpad teams and their journey in entrepreneurship.

Michael’s advice to entrepreneurs

If you have a business idea, the right time to start your business is as soon as you become a student at SDSU. If you go to community college first, use their entrepreneurial services. They may have a way to connect with the SDSU program. Contact the ZIP Launchpad immediately upon enrolling because you can only use the ZIP entrepreneur services if you are a SDSU Faculty member, employee, or student.

From what I have seen in the costs and obstacles, one has to hurdle to get a patent and meet licensing/registration requirements, which can be difficult at times. The fees are so excessive that the inventor loses possession of their patent if they cannot keep up with the yearly maintenance fees (for us it will be $3300.00 a year, but can be in the tens of thousands) and lose all that has been invested. This is only from the viewpoint of the inventor of a device that needs to meet many standards and your project will vary. Enroll in the ZIP as soon as you become a student and if you have an idea. Find out what pains people (inability to bathe on two legs) and solve that pain. This is how invention is born.