New Business Spotlight focuses on local businesses that have existed for one to five years. This month’s spotlight is on FunLPro Technology. Co-founder and CEO Bryan Crosby introduces his company in Q&A form.
Q: What is FunLPro Technology and how did the company start?
A: FunLPro Technology is a closure innovation designed to eliminate the hassle and mess of transferring CPG (consumer packaged goods) fluids such as automotive lubricants, household cleaning products and industrial compounds from the container to the desired location. FunLPro Technology provides consumers with a lengthy, extendable pouring spout that is built directly into the leak-proof closure system, eliminating the need to use a separate pouring device to transfer fluids safely and eliminating the spillage associated with free-hand transfer. Every year in the U.S., more than 15.5 billion containers of chemical fluid products are sold without the means to safely and accurately transfer these products. Most are consumed in-house or at work around family, pets and loved ones. FunLPro Technology LLC has a portfolio of IP around its closure technology and licenses it to partner brands to develop best-in-class packaging and differentiate their products at point of sale.
Q: How much of an impact did winning the Startup Day pitch competition in 2015 have for you and your company?
A: Startup Day was a wonderful validation for us. We had the opportunity to present in front of numerous judges with excellent business acumen, networks and tremendous relevant experience. It allowed us to transition from a school project to a real business, and quickly so.
Q: What has made FunLPro so successful?
A: It makes it much easier when the product itself is a no-brainer. FunLPro solves a problem that millions of consumers face in the U.S. every single day, and tens, if not hundreds, of millions around the world face as well. The development of major packaging innovations has become a viable investment for brand managers, and the return on investment speaks for itself. Many recent packaging innovations have increased sales in the 10-plus percent range within the first year of release (Clorox Spray Bottles, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Campbell’s soup, Hellman’s Mayo, etc.) and far outweigh the ROI’s they are seeing for traditional advertising. This is the dilemma an established commodity brand faces — the only real way to differentiate their product is through their packaging and shelf appeal or having enough cash to out-scream competition through ads and branding. This advertising game typically works in the media or ad company’s favor. Also, I have been extremely fortunate to have had unbelievable mentorship from a very early stage, allowing us to set our strategy, develop our business plan, get the product to market and validate the concept, and finally arrive where we are now, which is strategically scaling the business towards national distribution and major licensing partnerships.
Q: What do you see as the future of FunLPro?
A: We are aiming to revolutionize the packaging of CPG products across a wide number of consumer categories. There has been literally no innovation over the span of decades in this packaging segment, and it is time for that to change. Seventy-three percent of purchase decisions are estimated to be made at point of sale (according to Nielsen) and a brand’s packaging either exudes quality and confidence or does the opposite. These decisions are based off of perception of quality and convenience and have a real impact on performance, ultimately leading to gains or losses of hundreds of millions of dollars. We are looking for partner brands that want take their products to the next level and to outcompete others in their space.
We would like to personally thank all of those in the community that have helped us along the way. KenJo Markets took a chance on us early on and we are proud to have them as our first partner brand on all of their KenJo Lubricants motor oil. The infrastructure provided by the University of Tennessee Haslam College of Business, the MBA Program, Anderson Center, UTRF, Jim Biggs and the folks at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, the Line12 fund and UTFCU, and the list goes on. Knoxville truly is a great place to start a company, and it is only getting better.