UCF finance major Vincent Desiano was on his way to an early morning class when he came up with the idea for his new product. With hot coffee in one hand, sunglasses, keys and headphones in the other, Desiano realized he had no room in his console to store his stuff. His only option was to throw it on the passenger seat.
In that moment of frustration, Desiano came up with a device to corral a driver’s items and display them in a neat, easy-to-reach manner. He created the Auto Hanger—a clip that attaches to an vehicle’s air vent and hangs, supports and protects items drivers use on their daily commute.
“This is where my love for cars really helped me out,” said the Naples resident who will graduate from UCF College of Business on Friday in the top 10 percent of his class. “I went to countless car dealerships asking the managers if I could test my product on their vehicles.”
After about five months of trial and error to perfect the design and spending hours on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website, Desiano filed for a utility patent.
He said he has had an entrepreneurial spirit since high school, and he credits his interest to the popular television show Shark Tank, which is produced by UCF alumnus Clay Newbill. When Desiano was looking at which school to attend for college, he said UCF had the risk-taking spirit he was looking for.
“I wanted to go somewhere that felt innovative and upcoming,” said Desiano, who is a member of the Financial Management Association and Young Investors Club. “I chose UCF because of how modern the area is, and as an incoming finance major, I was especially attracted to the big corporate offices in downtown Orlando.”
Desiano said he took full advantage of the resources available at UCF. He created his first 3D-printed Auto Hanger prototype with help from the UCF Texas Instruments Innovation Lab in the College of Engineering & Computer Science. UCF College of Business’s Blackstone Launchpad helped him create a business plan and build awareness about his product.
“The Blackstone Launchpad has ultimately helped me network,” he said. “They have helped so much with putting me in front of the right people and aiding me in the right direction along this journey.”
With his idea protected by a provisional patent, Desiano began researching plastic injection molding companies.
“My biggest obstacle was finding the correct manufacturer to produce my product,” said the 22-year-old. “The design and prototype stage was relatively easy, but when it came time to find the company I would trust in making my dream a reality, it was tough.”
Desiano said many of the manufacturers came back with either extremely high quotes or would just tell him no.
“I overcame this challenge by staying focused on the goal and not getting discouraged,” he said.
After much research, Desiano found a local company, 7 Plastics, Inc., he said loved his idea and were open to helping a college student create his dream.
After graduation, Desiano hopes to become a financial analyst and continue his Auto Hanger business as a revenue stream. He said he also wants to help other ventures like Auto Hanger thrive.
“My dream job is to be a venture capitalist aiding small ventures or start-ups by providing capital and the necessary advice for them to succeed,” he said.
For more information on Auto Hanger, please visit: YourAutoHanger.com.