The article below, written by Sam Raudins of Albany Business Review, introduces the Next-Step Stool to the media. Access the full article at: https://www.bizjournals.com/albany/inno/stories/news/2022/10/16/the-next-step-stool-aha-solutions.html
Editor's note: Welcome to The Pitch, a new series featuring early stage Capital Region startups. The goal is to familiarize readers with up-and-coming ideas and entrepreneurs, showcasing the different levels of creativity in upstate New York. Responses are provided by the company via questionnaire, and they have been edited and condensed.
Aha! Solutions Inc. developed a a new kind of step stool that hooks onto surfaces for stability and can be used by children. The Next-Step Stool is a compact step stool with no assembly required, adjustable height and anti-tipping technology to prioritize safety for any age.
Aiming to raise an additional $95,000 in capital to meet its goal, the company is a finalist in FuzeHub's 2022 Commercialization Competition taking place in Buffalo Oct. 25-26. A crowdfunding campaign is also set for 2023.
The product: The Next-Step Stool
How it makes money: The company is currently taking pre-orders on its website and hoping to deliver the product by June 2023.
Size of the market: The total global step stool market is projected to reach $1.2 billion by 2028, with a compound annual growth rate of 4.5%. This translates to a $953 million global market for 2023. Considering that North America constitutes 25% of the market, and folding step stools are 30%, the product's serviceable addressable market is about $71 million.
Competition: Little Partners, Guidecraft, Naomi Home, Cosco, Ikea
Competitive advantage: Its proprietary anti-tipping design seeks to enhance safety. It also has options to use one or two steps for customizability. The Next-Step Stool intends to grow with families to accommodate changing needs. It is ideal for one child as he/she grows, many children of different ages or adults of any height.
Its footprint of 4 inches deep when fully stowed aims to make moving and storage easier. Weighing less than 10 pounds, the Next-Step Stool is 50% lighter than traditional learning towers that weigh over 20 pounds.
Business/technology it could disrupt: Home and kitchen; step stools; children’s step stools; pediatric offices; child care and day care facilities; nursing homes or elderly care homes.
Founders and their background: Sara Hasan, founder and CEO, is a pharmacist by profession (Pharm.D.). Her experience includes working with a top health care company and as a pharmacy manager for over 10 years.
Capital raised: $105,000
Capital sought: $200,000
Ideal exit: Acquisition by Graco, Gerber, or similar well-known children’s furniture brand
Company: Aha! Solutions, Inc.
CEO: Sara Hasan
Year founded: 2019