Most reality TV shows are all about theatrics — showing the drama of battling fashion divas or the thrill of negotiating a bargain. The more drama, the better price the show can get for advertising. We all know that's the bottom line in TV.
But there's one reality-TV business show producer whose show is just the beginning of the opportunities for entrepreneurs and inventors. Everyday Edisons creator Edison Nation is a seven-year-old hub for offscreen contests and initiatives designed to encourage innovation beyond what you see on the show. Edison Nation estimates helping commercialize products that have sold 13 million units and are in more than 25,000 retail stores.
There's a serious cut in it for Edison. They take 50 percent of revenue if they help you commercialize your product. But if you've struggled to get in front of the elite retail buyers who could make your product happen, Edison definitely has the connections.
Here's a look at all the different ways Edison Nation is working with entrepreneurs to help them find opportunities to bring products to market:
•New medical invention partnership. Edison just this month partnered with Carolinas HealthCare System to launch Edison Nation Medical, a new platform to help medical inventors get attention. Doctors, nurses, caregivers, patients and their friends are invited to submit their business ideas. It's $25 to submit your idea.
•Live product searches. For $100 ($35 if you register at their site), you can submit an idea to one of their "live product searches," in which Edison solicits ideas for a particular retailer or manufacturer for a limited time. Recently, for instance, Wolfgang Puck was looking for food and kitchenware ideas, and Molly Sims was on the hunt for new mom-and-baby products, among other "live search" contests.
•$25 million innovation fund. Edison partnered with major retailers to create its innovation fund. The fund invests up to $250,000 in commercializing your idea if you're chosen. The fund is currently prepping its Series III slate of innovation fund searches.
•Insider licensing program. If you've got a patent or patent-pending idea, this year-round program gives you a chance to have your idea reviewed by Edison's licensing team for possible help from Edison. They've had some nice successes, including Monster Pong (licensed to Wham-O).
It's always a tradeoff when an inventor takes on a partner on the road to commercializing a product. But Edison clearly comes with an inside line to many big names that are actively seeking products.
Have you got an invention to sell? Leave a comment and tell us your plan to get your invention to market.