One of the most important abilities that a successful entrepreneur needs is to be able to take a negative situation, figure out a new direction and then work hard to move in that new direction. When Akeem Shannon lost his scholarship while attending Howard University in Washington, D.C., he was forced to return home to Missouri. But he was determined to become successful enough to out-earn his friends who were able to remain in college. Akeem worked as a sales person in a several telecom companies and was eventually recruited by Square, a large financial technology company. Even though he was successful at these jobs, he had the itch to become an entrepreneur and create and run his own business.
Of course, using a cellphone was always part of Akeem’s life and work and he had frequently encountered the problem of where to set the phone down if he needed his hands free, or how to safely have it close by when he was in the kitchen at home. In late 2017, Akeem was involved in a late-night phone call with his uncle, who was a NASA engineer. During this call Akeem learned about a reusable adhesive that NASA had researched way back in the 1970s.
Thinking about the adhesive and the problems he sometimes had with placing his phone in a safe place while still needing to use it, Akeem designed the Flipstik, a “kickstand” that attaches to a cellphone cover and enables the user to either stand it on a table upright, or attach it to almost any flat surface. The Flipstik is washable with either soap and water or alcohol pads and the adhesive holds up to 2 pounds of weight. A variety of colors and designs are available.
In order to bring his product to market, Akeem taught himself to obtain a patent and trademark, and on April 20, 2018 initiated a Kickstarter campaign with a modest goal of $1,865. This goal was reached within 24 hours! When the campaign ended on May 26, a total of $10,310 had been raised from 460 backers.
On June 14, 2018, a pre-order store was set up on-line, and by the end of August of 2018 all pre-orders had been filled.
Akeem has gone to great lengths to promote the Flipstik. In 2019 Flipstik won 1st Place at the CES Retail Pitch competition held by TechStars. Last August, Akeem wanted to pitch his invention at Sean “Diddy” Combs’ REVOLT Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, but the competition was closed. Not to be deterred, Akeem wrote a rap about Flipstik and was able to compete in the REVOLT Rap Competition instead, earning enough points from the judges to get on the stage.
In an article on For Creators by Creators () on April 13, 2019, Akeem said that one of his passions is to be able to give back to the community and he has pledged to donate a portion of his profits to charity every year. He also wants to inspire other current and future entrepreneurs by sharing his story as a featured creator with FCBC. He encourages anyone who wants to start their own business to take a chance on their dreams and not give up. Akeem believes that it is just when you are most afraid of taking the leap that you should charge ahead “at full speed!”