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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M student pitches patented idea at SXSW

Photo by Photo by Brad Morse

University studies-business senior Dayan Hansley (right) shows a prototype of her Motley Tool with her mentor Steven Dourmashkin (left) to an audience in Austin, Texas.

AUSTIN, Texas — On March 10, a Texas A&M student showcased a new multi tool designed to cut down on the amount of equipment first responders carry. The presentation took place at the Red Bull Launch Institute, a part of South by Southwest festivities.
Dayana Hansley, university studies-business senior, presented her patented Motley Tool, which combines 10 of the most commonly used tools carried by firefighters, first responders and hazmat technicians. The tool, which is non-sparking and made out of non-corrosive materials, utilizes a lightweight design to reduce the combined weight of the tools it incorporates: bung wrench, hammer, three-fourths wrench, half-inch wrench, adjustable wrench, square wrench and a spanner wrench.
Hansley was one of eight students from across the country selected for the Red Bull Launch Institute panel at South by Southwest.
At the panel, every student was given five minutes to give their pitch, then answered questions from the audience. Examples of products and ideas from other students included an app which rewards drivers for turning off their phone while driving, a hardware device that connects people to emergency services or friends and family and a start up aimed to connect farmers in Nigeria with factories to sell their crops.
Hansley began her pitch by asking the audience a hypothetical question: “What if you could lighten the load of a first responder by 25 pounds?”
Part of Hansley’s pitch included comparing her creation to those of her competitors, who differ mainly in price and material.
“The Motley Tool can be priced as low as $300,” Hansley said. “So by our projections, we could have over $2 million in revenue in the first year. As to what sets us apart, we make our tool out of aluminum 77 to help keep our cost down while increasing durability [of the tool.]”
Hansley ended her pitch by detailing what she is seeking from potential investors.
“Currently, we are asking for $15,000 as an initial investment to complete our testing and begin manufacturing,” Hansley said.
After her pitch, Hansley fielded questions from the audience. The first asked how she came across the idea for the Motley Tool.
“[The idea came from] an engineering innovation competition at Texas A&M,” Hansley said. “My dad was in the military so I am very well versed in first responders, and the event was first responders themed. So I knew what they needed.”
Hansley was also asked about the testing process, and if she had tested her product against those of her competitors.
“We actually have [done testing] with a 3D print prototype,” Hansley said. “But not with a complete version.That is why we are seeking funding to get a prototype out there.”
Through her partnership with Red Bull, Hansley said the marketing for the tool has completely changed, since Red Bull has access to marketing avenues she originally would not have tapped in to.
“We really didn’t market it at first,” Hansley said. “But [partnering with Red Bull] has changed how we market it. Especially with us trying to get funding, having it marketed on social media has been an impressive transformation.”
While the Red Bull Launch Institute has taught her several things about marketing and managing both her product and her brand, Hansley said the biggest thing she has taken away from Red Bull has been how vital her brand is to her.
Though Hansley has a working prototype, she said the Motley Tool is currently not being used in the field. However, she has a timetable of when she would like to have it out.
“We’d like to have all the testing for it done by the end of April, and we’d like to do that with the Texas A&M [Engineering] Extension service, because that gives us credibility,” Hansley said. “Red Bull is helping us get contacts for mass production. I would say, timeline wise, I would like to have this out by the end of August.”
The metal the tool is made out of is a light, durable aluminum which Hansley said she and her team came across during the improvement of her design.
“We altered the design about five times now, and so we’ve actually come up with our final design,” Hansley said. “It’s manufacturable, it’s lightweight. The issue with the other designs was that they were not manufacturable. We are still exploring metals, but right now it’s made out of aluminum 77, which is what they use on airplanes. So that way it will still be durable, keep it low-cost to make and keep it lightweight.”
The Red Bull Launch Institute partners past participants with current ones. The past participants act as a mentor to the current participants as they plan their pitches and presentations. Steven Dourmashkin, Hansley’s mentor, said working with Hansley has been a great experience for both of them.
“[Working with Hansley] has been great, it really has,” Dourmashkin said. “She’s really passionate and really dedicated. She’s gotten really far, a lot of manufacturing has gotten done.”
Dourmashkin said part of the reason he and Hansley work so well together is he was in a similar situation as Hansley with his company not long ago.
“I evaluate where she’s at, and I try to relate it to where I was a couple of years ago with my startup,” Dourmashkin said. “So I’m just mentoring her. Just helping with manufacturing, helping work through ‘What’s the best route to take?’’
While the current iteration of the Motley Tool is geared towards first responders, Hansley said her and her team have a long-term goal of designing tools for other professions.
“[My goal] is to have the original Motley Tool out on the market,” Hansley said. “We also have other designs we have been working on for other niche markets. So the airline industry, the automotive industry, we’d like to make tools for them.”
Ultimately, Hansley said she credits A&M for allowing her to follow her enterpernial path, something she said she does not take lightly.
“A&M has been wonderful for me. All the resources they’ve given us, there is no way I would be here today without them,” Hansley said.

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