Professor giving a lecture to students in old main

Taking plate.O to the next level

Wofford students use crowdfunding site to build base of investors

Plate.O 382
2015-12-14

All Richard Harrison and Adrian Thompson want for Christmas are investors.

Harrison and Thompson, both Wofford College sophomores, have launched their own custom cell phone cover business — plate.O — and are ready to open a full-service online storefront.

"Our goal is to raise $15,000 in 45 days," says Harrison. "The money will improve the website, pay for shipping and packaging design, and cover trademarks and initial manufacturing."

They offer a variety of colors — including a Wofford gold and black combination — and have refined the prototypes so they are easier to interchange. The cases are sleek and mirror the aesthetics of the iPhone 6 and 6s that they are designed to protect.

"We both really like changing and trading out cases," says Thompson. "Before we started this business, we each had 15-20 cases. People who buy a plate.O case can easily mix and match the two-part bumper and back plate to fit their style."

Thompson, a biology and Spanish major, and Harrison, an accounting and finance major, have been best friends since their years at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C. Now they're best business partners.

According to Thompson, the idea to start a business came out of the Inventor's Lab Interim (January term) at Wofford. The name — plate.O — is a play off Plato (after a particularly robust discussion with a Wofford professor on the great philosophers). The name also refers to the back "plate" of the phone case that people can make their "O-wn."

Harrison and Thompson are already looking ahead to offering back plates made from carbon fiber and renewable resources and adding more functionality to the case. For example including a money clip or business card holder on the backplate is something that they are considering.

Tyler Senecal, assistant director of the Launch and Impact program with The Space in the Mungo Center at Wofford, has been helping Harrison and Thompson with marketing and business development.

"After finishing second place in last year's Impact and Launch competition, the pair has made major advances in the development of their business," says Senecal. "Even before they graduate, they will have a business that they can grow and market or sell. That's a huge advantage."

To learn more about plate.O visit plateocase.com. A link to the Indiegogo site is on plate.O home page.