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Local Inventor Seeks Crowdfunding

Two inventors, one local and one international, have come together to launch an online fundraising campaign for a product they hope to bring to the market by the end of the year. 

 

Farmingdale resident Rafael Avila is one half of the duo behind the Chocolazer, which is a hot glue gun used to melt chocolate for culinary purposes. 

 

The Chocolazer is branded as a no-mess product that is meant to inspire people to be creative with chocolate. The gadget features a removable heating barrel, wherein special chocolate sticks are melted down into a manageable liquid form. 

 

Avila began working on the invention nearly seven years ago and almost saw its success, but miscalculated one very important thing... Someone else already owned the patents.

 

Enter the other half of the team—Monica D’Agostino, a woman from Canada who had thought of a similar product years earlier. Avila had several half-hearted attempts to contact her as he wanted his own invention to be the one he took to success. 

 

“You have to act on your ideas,” Avila said, “because you are probably not the only person thinking of it.” 

  

While working on some other inventions, Avila held a seminar last September to introduce the idea of bringing a 3D printing system, called the Makerspace, to Farmingdale. 

 

Although receiving minimal support from the community left him a bit dismayed, the few people attending the seminar convinced Avila to utilize social media to reach out to D’Agostino after he had told the

story of his chocolate creation that almost was.

 

It took nearly 15 minutes when he got home to find her contact information online and a few days later the two formed a partnership. 

 

“Our objective was to bring this product back to life,” Avila says.  

 

 

Fast-forward nearly a year and twenty-something prototypes later, a working device for the Chocolazer had been created. 

 

The two business partners turned to Kickstarter, an online crowdfunding website, to help raise money for the product and share the backstory of how it came to be. 

 

On the site, users can pledge different dollar amounts and get rewards in return—from a collector’s edition prototype, chocolate stick refill packs, and the Chocolazer device itself. 

 

“Kickstarter is brilliant because people are enthusiastic about products,” Avila said. “You can say you were there from the very beginning and that you helped get that product off the ground.”

 

Avila hopes that the project will be fully funded so he can put Farmingdale on the map. With less than a month to go and a pledge goal of $60,000, he is determined to succeed.  

 

If the Kickstarter fails to reach its goal, all of the money raised will be returned. “Whether funded or not through Kickstarter, this will still be a product,” Avila added. “I really have an ulterior motive of bringing a Makerspace to Farmingdale... and the success of this product will clearly show everyone that there is a value to having, in our community, this type of thing.”