Clarkson University student entrepreneur
develops product to handle pets with ease POTSDAM, N.Y. -- A desire to help pets and pet owners has inspired Clarkson University student Bryce Bandish, Class of 2015, to turn a childhood invention into a new company. Bandish has worked with Clarkson’s Reh Center for Entrepreneurship and Shipley Center for Innovation for two years to develop the Pet Pita, a safe and inexpensive way to immobilize a pet cat or dog.
Made of canvas and fleece, the Pet Pita allows pet owners to comfortably medicate, treat and handle their pets at home or on the go. An entrepreneur from East Dummerston, Vt., Bandish came up with the idea for the product in fifth grade because his cat, Rudy, would not cooperate when it came time to administer his flea medicine. Bandish then cut out a piece of fabric designed to comfortably immobilize the pet for the procedure. "The whole idea originally was to make medication a less painful experience for your cat, your dog and you," he said.
The idea for the Pet Pita fell to the wayside, Bandish said, until he came to Clarkson. A chemistry major with a business minor, he said the Reh Center for Entrepreneurship and Shipley Center for Innovation have taught him how to apply his creative thinking in both science and business endeavors.
"I learned to think in a completely scientific way, and then I brought in this business element," he said of Pet Pita.
At the 2014 New York Business Plan Competition, Bandish was named "Rookie of the Year" in the products and services category.
"The Reh Center has played an integral part," he said. "They’ve given me the hands-on experience and knowledge of who to talk to and how to talk to them."
Erin Draper, Reh Center for Entrepreneurship director of operations, said the center is open to students across the University, and she encourages students to get involved early. When students from multiple disciplines work together, she said, they realize how important different perspectives are for success. "They develop a mutual appreciation for each other," she said. "Engineers realize they need business students and vice versa."
The Pet Pita Kickstarter campaign at www.kickstarter.com/projects/thepetpita/the-pet-pita runs until Sunday, July 20. Bandish said the pledges would help him fund the full patent process and order the first full-scale round of Pet Pitas to bring to stores throughout New York and New England. He said he now is working with Herkimer Industries to get the product into people’s hands. Draper said Bandish is enthusiastic and passionate about the Pet Pita, and he recognizes a business should be good for people, profit and planet.
The Pet Pita is made in the United States and supports local jobs. "It’s not just about the business, it’s about the community that you form," Draper said. Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company.
Bandish is a 2012 graduate of Brattleboro (Vt.) Union High School and a senior at Clarkson.