ONITIS Cooler Kickstarter: An Interview with the Founder

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Venture Cooler
Either he's really strong, or that cooler is REALLY light.
We have ideas pitched to us almost daily at CCP. Some brands have new designs to hawk. Some folks are trying to bring back an old brand for the 12th time (hint: rhymes with "cluck red"). 36 times out of 37, we have to say "no." After all, there's only so much money to go around, and so much of your time we can try to occupy. Every once in a while, though, something amazing lands at our doorstep. In this case, someone amazing walked through our door.

 

His name is Spencer Sutlive. He's a college student at the University of Georgia, and he's also the founder of Rugged Outdoors, his second lifestyle and apparel company. I could spend another thousand words detailing Spencer's ambitions with his brand, but we have a better way to spend your time today. Spencer started a Kickstarter campaign to build a better mousetrap...er, cooler. Why do we need new coolers, you ask? BECAUSE. Because the best coolers on the market are really, really heavy. Because the best coolers on the market are really expensive. And because Spencer and his team can fix both of those things. AND THEY MADE IT FLOAT. Seriously.

 

You aren't seeing things, we promise! That cooler is really floating!

So without further ado, here's Spencer, telling you about the new ONITIS Cooler and his Kickstarter campaign to fund its production. Rugged Road has already raised $29k of its $25k goal (that's right - it successfully funded!), and I know our readers are the perfect audience for this particular pitch. So take it away, Spence! (note: I don't think anyone calls him that). Oh, and here's that Kickstarter link!


The ONITIS Cooler: Rugged Road Outdoors

Cooler in the wild

IN SPENCER'S OWN WORDS:
There is nothing better than getting away from the stressful busy-ness of the world we live in. Whether your escape is enjoying an awesome tailgate or going on an outdoor adventure, one thing remains constant. The need for a great cooler. Everyone knows coolers are the cornerstone of a good time and that they keep our delicious beverages ice cold (ed. note: we're going to allow this hyperbole due to Spencer's youth). That being said, we are all familiar with the current coolers on the market. They boast their ability to hold ice for days on end and their indestructible nature. However, all of these coolers have two faults in common that they desperately try to hide.
They are simply too heavy to take anywhere, and they cost hundreds of dollars. Let's compare.
vs.
When my co-founder, Henry Collins, and I were seniors in high school we decided enough was enough! We weren’t going to stand for this nonsense any longer, and we were not going to stop until we found a solution. After over two years of research and development, we were able to develop a light-weight, cost-effective cooler that offers the same ice retention and comparable durability to our competitors. Through utilizing a proprietary spray coating and a high-density molding process, we arrived at a cooler that is one third the weight and less than half the price of what the market currently has to offer.

Dimensions

The ONITIS cooler is what we are offering to all the people that have had to deal
with overpriced, heavy coolers for years now. No more leaving your cooler in the truck at the tailgate because it is too heavy! No more liquidating your assets to buy a cooler that cost an arm and a leg! The mayhem stops now. 

We've gotta say, this is pretty impressive!
In the image above, Spencer and his team utilized a lift to lower a 5,000 pound Jeep onto the coolers. Talk about durability!
Not only have they completed a Strength Test, but they have also run multiple tests just so this cooler can continue to brag on itself. A few other test that Spencer and his team have accomplished are an Ice Test, Arrow Test, Drop Test, Impact Test, and Capacity Test.

Over the past couple of years, we have gone through countless prototypes to
arrive at a battle tested, finalized product. Henry and I are preselling coolers on
Kickstarter in order to raise money for our initial manufacturing run. The ONITIS is a 40qt cooler that we sell for $99. A lot of people ask “what the heck is Kickstarter”, and I would probably have asked the same question too a couple of years ago. So, let me explain. Kickstarter is a website that allows us to presell our coolers in order to pay for the manufacturing up front.

We've achieved our fundraising goal, and now we're excited to extend the opportunity to get in on our first production to as many people as possible!
The ONITIS 45 is one of Rugged Road's featured products. It is the first cooler to provide an excellent amount of durability and ice retention without the extra weight and sky high price tag that your run of the mill cooler commonly has. The ONITIS weighs less than 10 pounds, so you never have to worry about dragging your cooler from place to place. Oh, and both sides of the lid can lock into place, so once you're ready to get the party started, you can flip the lid for cup holders and a cutting board!
The ONITIS Cooler
Fun Fact: The ONITIS derives its name from a beetle that has a higher strength to weight ratio than any other living creature on the planet. Pretty neat!
There are plenty more absurd, amusing, and impressive tests and gifs to check out on the official Kickstarter page. We'd love for you to join the cooler revolution!

Henry and Spencer (the Founders)Founders

Henry was an energetic kid who turned into a capable outdoors man with a penchant for numbers. He balances his prowess with a bow or a fly rod with his spreadsheet savvy. Henry is equally comfortable knee deep in a duck blind or analyzing data. 

True story:  Henry's first entrepreneurial effort was a subscription email newsletter
aimed at teaching high school students how to trade stocks.

Spencer is the youngest of 4 boys, and he took to the outdoors immediately. Whether jet skiing the Chattahoochee River from Georgia to Florida or scaling cliffs in the Appalachian Mountains just to camp on a cliff in the freezing cold, Spencer is always looking for the best gear and the next adventure.
True story:  Spencer found himself waking up as early as 4 am many mornings
throughout high school, to fulfill orders for the short-lived, 6-figure t-shirt business he and his older brothers co-founded.
Click here to sponsor the production on Kickstarter.
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