Kickstarter, Grenades and WTF

Bottle Grenade

Kickstarter is this site where inventors can raise money to back their projects.  It’s a real grassroots kind of thing, and those of us in small towns are very familiar with grass roots fundraising.  People will give if it’s a worthwhile project.  Lots of things get done when local, small town people put their mind to it.  Brad Martin, a 27 year old from Webster City, knew that.  He’s a smart kid (sorry Brad, I’m old enough to be your mom) and knew he had a good idea.

Back in January he invented this product, The Bottle Grenade – and wanted to raise $2,500 to create his product in his garage.  He raised $42,650!  It’s a keychain, multi tool, bottle opener, fashion statement.  It fits on a keychain, on your belt, in your pocket — it’s the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time.  You can see a lot more information and video on the Kickstarter site by clicking here.

Brad got some new equipment and created ANOTHER project!  Its called the WTF – the Wrench That Fits.  Get this — here’s just a few of the many uses: its a wrench that fits 1/4″ to 1/2″, a gear tie, has a pry bar, opens bottles, and is a key chain.  But hey – if that’s too small for you — he’s got a LARGE WTF!  You’ll just have to check out the Kickstarter page by clicking here.   

I’m not here to sell you on this tool.  I’m here to talk about Brad.  I found him online via Marco Santana from the Des Moines Register.  Marco writes about businesses around the state.  He let me know about Brad because he knew I was moving to Webster City to be the chamber director.  I spent several days trying to find Brad’s phone number,with no luck. In case you didn’t know it, young adults don’t often have a home phone – they use their cell phone.  But I knew I could email him and he’d probably return my email.  Which he did – right away.  We chatted back and forth and I told him he had to let me see his shop and he invited me over.

Brad works a full time job – he’s ‘in the wind’ (that means he works for the Turbines in Iowa).  He was kind enough to invite me over after work one day.  Once we got past the niceties, we got down to real business.  He showed me what he had done on Kickstarter to raise funds.  He talked about the importance of customer service and talking to each and every customer who helped support him.  He talked about dreams and aspirations.  He gave me a tour and showed me how his CNC lathing machine worked.  He talked to me about living in a small town.  He told me there’s lots of guys out there just like him – working on a passion and wanting to make a difference.

I really like the energy, intelligence and passion this young man has.  I don’t want to lose him and his family to a big city.  We connected Brad to Cindy at Small Business Development Center and they are working on options that Brad can take and still remain right here in Webster City.  I’m excited to see what magic Brad will bring to our business community.

Oh, by the way — he’s raised $74,171 on his WTF and there are 49 hours left for you to help him out. 




  1. Brad on April 7, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Did you take that picture with an iPhone? I look TERRIBLE!

  2. deb on April 7, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    Android — and you wouldn’t smile!