From the beginning of his time at LSU, mechanical engineering graduate student Sean King knew he wanted to start a business and help people. He now thinks he found a way to make that happen.
The Baton Rouge native was eating dinner with his family at The Overpass Merchant on a hot day in July 2017 when he came up with the idea for his business.
“We were drinking beer,” King said. “We noticed after about 15 minutes that the outside of the glass was full of condensation. It was too hot to really enjoy. My dad said, ‘Man, I wish someone could invent something to prevent that from happening.’ I said, ‘Wait a minute, I could actually do that.’”
Because of what King learned at the University about heat transfer, he came up with the idea for a plastic beer glass made of two layers of plastic separated by a vacuum. The vacuum between the layers both maintains the temperature of the drink in the glass and drastically reduces condensation on the outside.
King received a provisional patent for his cup, called the FLOE glass, and still needs to obtain the full utility patent.
While vacuum-insulated cups are not a new concept, King is the first to create a clear pint glass that utilizes vacuum insulation.
“No one wants to drink beer out of a Yeti,” King said.
In addition, King plans to donate 15 percent of all profits to the Flint Water Fund and the Appalachian Freshwater Initiative. King said the idea for funding clean water charities came when he was living in Claremore, Oklahoma and received a letter stating that his tap water did not meet national standards.
“That’s not something that should be happening in the U.S.,” King said in a press release. “If you look under the Appalachian Freshwater Initiative, over 50 percent of the 5,000 water systems serve 500 people or less. That’s something I wanted to give a voice to.”
King said he hopes to practice what he calls “responsible capitalism.”
“I have always wanted to start a company that practices what I call responsible capitalism, where you are not only trying to benefit yourself,” King said in a press release. “If you own a company, you’re going to make enough money. But if you help other people, that’s more important in the long run.”
King said the glasses will be manufactured by a Noble Plastics Inc, a company founded by an LSU graduate. The glasses will be manufactured using injection molding and will cost around $2.50 wholesale. King said he is focusing on selling the cups in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, as well as southern California. King hopes his company can expand to make other drinkware like wine glasses in the future.