By Kathy Walsh
BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– The Colorado creator of a popular cellphone accessory is helping those who struggle with mobility.
David Barnett is giving a percentage of proceeds from sales of his invention, “PopSockets,” to Craig Hospital and organizations that support people with arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and ALS.
From teams, to skulls, to Sagittarius, there are 1,000 different cellphone grips called PopSockets. The idea started in 2010 in Boulder with buttons.
“The buttons were bigger than the phone,” explained Barnett, CEO and founder of PopSockets.
Then a University of Colorado professor, Barnett was trying to keep his earbud cord from tangling. He glued the buttons to the back of his iPhone.
“And then wrapped my headset around like this,” he demonstrated.
It worked and Barnett expanded the idea.
Four years and 60 prototypes later, adults were skeptical.
“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen,” Barnett said many told him.
But kids didn’t think so. In 2018, the company expects to sell 60 million PopSockets. And Barnett has been hearing from a special group of people.
“People with arthritis, somebody in Denver with ALS,” he explained.
The grips make for easy, one-handed holding.
“The PopSocket itself makes a big impact on their lives,” he said.
Now, quarterly, PopSockets is giving 10 percent of net proceeds from sales at PopSockets.com to nonprofits that support people with mobility challenges.
Coincidentally, Barnett’s grandfather helped found the ALS Association after a friend was diagnosed with the progressive neurodegenerative disease. The Barnett family has contributed over $11 million to ALS.
PopSockets has headquarters in Boulder and offices in San Francisco, Finland and Singapore.
“We hope to grow to be a billion dollar business here,” Barnett explained.
He hopes company growth will give PopSockets momentum to launch “Poptivism”, a program giving more charities a chance to earn money from this Colorado-grown gadget.
From April through June, Craig Hospital benefitted from sales at PopSockets.com. PopSockets donated 10 percent of all online net proceeds. Through the end of September, those donations will go to the ALS Association.