Last year we reported on local entrepreneurial star Chris Johnson (“Rapid Success,” January 2014, by Allison Joy), whose Rapid Ramen cooker had gone viral on AOL and eventually resulted in a business deal between Johnson and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on the hit television series “Shark Tank.”
In the past year, Rapid Ramen has expanded into Target, Menard’s, Bed Bath & Beyond and Family Dollar — just to name a few. The little cooker has gone international, too, including distribution in Australia, India and Canada. Johnson predicts his product will be in 20 countries by the end of 2015.
He’s also brought his Rapid Mac cooker to market, available in Walgreens nationwide. Johnson will launch his Rapid Rice cooker at the International Housewares Association’s International Home + Housewares show, one of the largest trade shows in the country, in Chicago on March 7.
But the project Johnson is most excited about has less to do with speedy cuisine and more to do with paying it forward. He’s got a book in the works (working title: “Zero to a Billion”) that details the process — from vetting a product, to patent and trademark and how to get a product on shelves — for other aspiring inventors.
“This education I’ve received in the hard knocks, figuring this out and having major success, is not just for me alone,” Johnson says. “I want to help other people’s dreams of products and ideas come true.”
Stealing a page from the “Shark Tank” playbook, Johnson says he’s building a company that will take on products and provide their inventors a royalty deal in return for helping bring the products to market.
“We actually already had two pitches today,” he says, “and I haven’t even promoted it yet.”
Editor’s Note: Since the publication of this piece in our March issue, the working title of Johnson’s book has been changed to “Faith and Execution.”
So many people are blessed with ideas for inventions, businesses or services but sadly never take action. Most are frozen by fear, paralyzed by procrastination or simply do not know where to start.
Chris Johnson is the inventor of Rapid Ramen Cooker, a square, microwaveable bowl that cooks ramen in four minutes. What he evidently lacks in patience, he makes up for in ingenuity.
NannyMe is a business and mobile application created by a few Sacramento high schoolers. Similar to the rideshare app Uber, NannyMe receives babysitting requests, then pings nannies (local high school students), who can accept or decline the job. Since NannyMe launched in December, about 75 families have signed up with the service.
Daniel Morash doesn’t like to see spoiled food go to waste. In 2012, Morash and his brother, Dave, spent millions to launch California Safe Soil with one goal in mind: convert leftover organic material from supermarkets into a nutrient-rich soil amendment farmers could use to grow crops.