What’s the score? Entrepreneur duo start business to sell cornhole dashboard

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MUNCIE – Paul Dytmire and Andy Klotz are learning that it takes patience and money to start a business that helps cornhole players answer an oft-heard question: “What’s the score?”

The new entrepreneurs, who have day jobs at community schools in Muncie, co-founded Revelry Games to sell a portable electronic scoreboard invented by Dytmire a decade ago. They predict the product, billed as ScoreBox21, will connect with gamers at all levels of the cornhole hobby.

Cornhole, based on throwing sacks (filled with corn in the early days of the game) down a hole in a slant board, is played in backyards, at tailgate parties, in amateur leagues, and in professional tournaments .

The journey to build a business with ScoreBox21 began when Dytmire noticed recurring questions among cornhole players: “Hey, what’s the score?” and “Who wins?” – during competitions he organized in the bars and restaurants of the region.

“I kept thinking how cool it would be to have something lit up in LEDs for everyone to see while we play,” he said.

The facilities manager of Muncie Schools had the mechanical skills to build a prototype of the scoreboard, which is a tower featuring two columns of 21 lights that correspond to the number of points needed to win a cornhole match.

Dytmire has taken its dashboard to trade shows, where people have responded positively to the concept. The dashboard won a gold medal in the toys and games division at the 2013 Invention & New Product Expo in Pittsburgh.

But the portable electronic scoreboard’s final destination was the back of a closet in Dytmire’s house.

“It just came down to the same thing that it all comes down to: I didn’t have the money to do anything else with it,” he said.

The invention was the subject of conversation, however, when Dytmire met Klotz two summers ago. Klotz, who had worked in marketing for Indiana State Fairgrounds and WFYI Public Media, was recently hired as director of communications for Muncie Schools.

An instant fan of the concept, Klotz told Dytmire to reach out if he wanted help spreading the word about ScoreBox21. They were not yet full trading partners.

“I always knew, based on what (Dytmire) told me, that at some point there will be a decision made whether or not you’re going to dig in your pocket and try to make something work. “, said Klotz. “I wasn’t ready to do that.”

The encouragement came when Dytmire and Klotz entered the dashboard of the 2020 Big Idea Pitch competition hosted by Muncie’s Innovation Connector. ScoreBox21 tied for first place with 6-year-old boy goggles designed to keep shampoo out of a youngster’s eyes during bath time.

“I realized, ‘Oh, people can really see this idea working and there’s a lot of enthusiasm for it,'” Klotz said.

Dytmire and Klotz created Revelry Games as an LLC in February 2021.

A surge in entrepreneurship has accompanied the pandemic, according to SCORE Indianapolis business mentor Keith Pitzele.

“We’ve increased our hours,” Pitzele said of the local SCORE chapter, where 90% of clients are startup owners. “We added sessions. We were really tense.

A chance to “push the reset button” has appealed to people during lockdown, Pitzele said. Klotz said he “wanted” to start a business, but everyday life took a back seat.

“I have a curiosity about how I would run things totally under my control, as much as you can control,” he said.

physical product

Building a plastic mold for the cornhole dashboard proved to be a challenge, Klotz said.

To begin with, he and Dytmire struggled to communicate with an overseas technician who worked on the prototype.

“Every time you thought you would get the next step, you didn’t get it the way you wanted,” he said. “Or he added something you never discussed and approved of.”

Klotz said the pandemic played a role in the delay in shipping parts and the shortage of people available to work on the project.

“Even though this is a very simple to operate product, there’s a lot of design here to make it portable and keep it durable,” he said.

Bringing ScoreBox21 to market is a $190,000 task, Dytmire and Klotz said.

They are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the production. At the time this story went to print, the fundraiser had just surpassed the original goal of $20,000. The campaign is accepting donations until August 7.

Early adopters have a chance to receive a $69 discount off the $179 retail price of ScoreBox21. The first 100 contributors to pledge $110 will receive the dashboard.

Business mentor Pitzele said crowdfunding is a good option for entrepreneurs, but it’s not the only option.

Pitzele advises her clients to consider microloans from the US Small Business Administration which are available for up to $50,000.

He said small loans are an alternative to refusing to get help from banks.

“The problem with new businesses is that banks don’t like to give money to startups,” Pitzele said.

Supply and demand

Before you spend money on an idea, Pitzele says, it’s important to know if there’s public demand.

“The only way to test the market is to poll people and find out what they think,” he said.

Pitzele said he was a fan of a Butler University course taught by fellow SCORE mentor Jeff Durham.

Durham, professor of entrepreneurship and innovation, teaches a business plan highlighted by these questions:

  • Would you use this product?
  • How much would you be willing to pay for this product?
  • How far would you travel for the product?

In the case of ScoreBox21, Klotz said Dytmire has had years of in-person commentary.

“Wherever we take this thing, people don’t ask the price. They just say, ‘Where can I buy it?’ said Klotz.

ScoreBox21 has picked up a pair of cornhole industry insiders, thanks to an unexpected work connection. Dytmire said it mentioned the dashboard to one of its supervisors at maintenance company SSC Service Solutions.

The supervisor told Dytmire that an employee of SSC in College Station, Texas, moonlighted as a professional cornhole player.

“He said, ‘You need to talk to AJ Sims. He plays cornhole on ESPN,” Dytmire said.

Sims and his teammate, Josh Groce, became design consultants for ScoreBox21.

“When (Sims) told me it was one of the sharpest things he’s seen in a long time in the cornhole, I knew it was going to be okay,” Dytmire said.

A growing game

Sims and Groce are two of 256 professional players in the American Cornhole League. In 2019, they won the ACL World Doubles Championship.

This year’s ACL World Championships are scheduled for July 29-August 7 in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Two other cornhole groups are the American Cornhole Association and the American Cornhole Organization.

“Millions of people play cornhole,” Klotz said. “Millions of people invest a lot of money in their boards, backyards and setups.”

Scott Melby, who started playing cornhole in 1998, said he was one of the American Cornhole Organization’s longest-serving officials.

“Dashboards are important,” Melby said. “People tend to throw adult drinks with their cornhole games. This is where you really need a dashboard.

Melby organizes tournaments for his company, Indy Custom Cornhole.

He said an app for mobile devices is gaining popularity as a tournament score-tracking tool. Scoreholio, made by a company in Santa Clarita, California, has a feature that submits a game’s final score to the tournament’s online medium.

Melby said that didn’t rule out an audience for ScoreBox21.

“Competitive players who play all the time represent a small percentage of cornhole players,” he said. “At home? I think (ScoreBox21) would be pretty cool.

On July 30, the ScoreBox21 team will showcase prototype scoreboards at Carmel’s Brews on the Boulevard event.

Although a cornhole dashboard is not a conventional product, it has been welcomed by open minds, Klotz said.

“We’ve had a lot more positive reactions and encouragement,” he said, “than anyone who said, ‘Really? Do you think it will sell?

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