I just got back from the INPEX Inventor's Show for 2017 – held in Pittsburgh, PA every year.
INPEX is an annual show for inventors from the US and internationally to showcase their products, meet with potential investors or licensees, and make new friends and acquaintances. INPEX is the sole surviving US inventor's show – Yankee Inventors and Minnesota Inventors Congress both folded some years ago.
My purpose in attending is to meet new inventors and see if I see any products I might be able to help with licensing.
My Impressions of INPEX
InventHelp hosted the show in downtown Pittsburgh this year at the Lawrence Convention Center – last year they held the show in suburban Monroeville at the Monroeville Convention Center.
While there is certainly more glitz and glamor having the show in downtown Pittsburgh, I felt that the smaller, less glamorous Monroeville Convention Center really worked better for visitors on several levels. Why?
Parking in downtown Pittsburgh is challenging: the convention center parking (at $12 per day) fills to capacity very quickly, forcing visitors to forage as much as 6 or 7 blocks away to find parking at prices ranging from $7 – $10, many of the nearer lots are for leasing only. Local restaurants are quite a walk away from the convention center.
In Monroeville there were a variety of nice restaurants within walking or short driving distance away. Since parking was free and uncontested in Monroeville, getting lunch was a breeze, as was traffic to and from the show. As you can see, convenience, free parking, and easy access to restaurants are big values to me.
Enough about parking, etc.
The show itself was quite good with a variety of companies in attendance including HSN, Allstar Products and others. It appeared there were perhaps 400 US inventors in attendance and maybe 250 – 300 from Asia, principally China – a few from Europe.
The products on offer were a mix of ideas/hobbies and inventions – only some of which seemed to me to have real commercial potential.
There were a number of pet treats and similar items, children's organizers, clothing items – not really inventions. There were a few interesting inventive items, including the Scroopula to easily remove cake and lasagna slices. One inventor had FiAir: a blow-dryer like item that could start a charcoal fire much more quickly, competitive with propane stoves. He has sold quite a number of the item over the years and would like to license it.
A key observation I had over 3 days was that many inventors had not fully thought through every aspect of their products. Many of inventions appeared to be solutions in search of a problem, cute, but not something someone would buy to solve a problem.
It is a common problem that our inventions are like our children: we love them even if no one else does.
INPEX was worth attending and I recommend it to anyone who wishes to see what new inventors are thinking.