KIRKLAND -- Maksim Ghyvoronosky is trying to catch lightning in a bottle. Again.
But this time, he promises, he'll be ready.
Ghyvoronsky is the owner and creator of Maksimatic, a Kirkland based start-up that specializes in cup holders. Not just any old cup holders, though. Specifically, they're spill proof, centripetal-force-utilizing cup holders with a half-spherical upper tilting that allows one's beverage up to 25-degree angle on a 360-degree swiveling joint that prevents against spilling, regardless of how fast a vehicle accelerates or stops.
In Layman's terms, a spill proof holder. One that Ghyvornosky promises is the "next logical step" in beverage-holding design.
"I truly believe all cup holders should be like this," Ghyvornosky explains with a tone only devout believers possess. "There is nothing like this."
Of course, one is rightfully hesitant to trust an owner using his practiced spiel to sling his wares. But Ghyvoronsky might ACTUALLY be on to something. He has some proof.
In early September 2014, Ghyvoronsky produced a short video showing him driving around with two cups filled to the brim. The cups were placed in Maksimatic cup holder prototype designs. In the video, Ghyvoronsky takes sharp left turns, right turns and stops. Not a drop spills from the cups.
Viral video with more than 800,000 views
The video was only intended for a few friends and close family, Ghyvoronsky says. But his cousin posted it to Reddit, and it quickly had more than 100,000 views and shot to the top of the front page on the popular sharing site.
"I would have hardly shared the video on Facebook," Ghyvoronsky says. "I made it with my cellphone. It wasn't really well done. It went viral on accident."
From accidental viral success to many questions
Soon, the video was up to 500,000 views and Ghyvoronsky was receiving "thousands" emails from interested customers, he said. From all over the world, people wanted to get their hands on the cup holder that was spill-proof.
There was a problem, though. Ghyvoronsky didn't have thousands of cup holders ready to ship to hordes of interested buyers. The model -- and all he had was a model-- was intended for car manufacturers. The idea was to be sold to car companies, leaving them the burden of figuring out how to manufacture the cup holders on a mass scale, and put them in cars as they saw fit.
An aftermarket product, one that customers could buy and pop into their car's current interior, was never anything Ghyvoronsky produced. Though he had patented the idea, thinking it could one day be possible, it certainly wasn't created and ready for sale in September.
After the video went viral, interest in an aftermarket product remained steady for some time. But frustratingly, no car companies came forward to invest in his factory model. Without them his idea, however popular, had no legs. An aftermarket product was possible, but only after months of research and trial and error.
This he did. But by then, the lust for the product had died as countless other products and videos took the Internet's attention away from Maksimatic cup holders.
"I wish now it could have gone differently," Ghyvoronsky says. "(The viral video) opened up doors. But nothing in the way we'd imagined."
Now, Ghyvoronsky has developed an aftermarket version that is ready to hit the manufacturer. Called the Maksimatic Bullet Spill-Preventing Cup Holder System, the latest design hosts a swiveling cup that hangs into a cavity, tilting up to about a 20 degree angle on a 360 degree joint. It sits about four inches above a standard cupholder, and "essentially does everything (the original) cupholder does," Ghyvoronsky says.
The only problem is he doesn't have the available capital available -- $100,000 -- to go into production. And what, in the digital age, is great for raising capital for a desirable, unique product?
A viral video, of course.
"I've lost a lot of traction and momentum," Ghyvoronsky says. "I had so much publicity at the wrong time. It's a little bit harder now, going out."
Capturing success again
Since producing the Bullet, Ghyvoronsky made a second video with the new product that has "about 12 views" Ghyvoronsky says. Light years away from the popularity his previous video garnered. But it will take more than low video views to keep him from continuing, he says.
On Wednesday, Ghyvoronsky started a Kickstater for the Bullet, aimed at raising the $100,000 necessary to go to production. For pledging $25 to the Kickstarter, donors get their own Bullet, fit to hold a standard 16 ounce cup.
As of Thursday, 17 backers pledged money to the product. He's hoping to get a spike in donors soon. Maybe, he hopes, some of those emailers from back in September, can forward.
"I have hope for this crowding-funding campaign," Ghyvoronsky says. "I want to help people to enjoy the benefits of this."
Ghyvoronsky admits he had something -- a viral video -- that many inventors only dream of achieving. But for him, the perfect, lightning in a bottle of viral fame came too soon. So he keeps on, knowing that with luck and hard work, he can capture it again. Because the Internet, and inventing, is like sailing a ship, he says.
"I had this ship sailing on a steady stream," Ghyvoronsky explains. "Then this storm, a storm different than I'd imagined, blows us in a completely different direction. It's not wrong because it's a different direction. It's headed to a great destination."
For Ghyvoronsky's Kickstarter campaign, click here.