A SI360 alum and recent graduate from Fordham University, Norberto Lorenzo Obeso (“Enzo”) runs Ventir, LLC, a company, backed by Kenneth Cole Productions, that is revolutionizing the stale and mature backpack industry by creating modular backpacks that adapt to the specific lifestyle of consumers.
When Enzo Obeso was in freshman year at Fordham University, he was balancing school, an internship and a marathon. This meant that he had to carry 2 or 3 bags with him during the day to manage all his activities. This is when the idea of redesigning backpacks to serve various activities came into mind. At first, he wanted to solve the issue for himself; however, he then decided to do some market research through surveys, and discovered that a lot of people were facing the same problem. Sometimes people were not motivated to engage in an activity if they had to carry too many bags or if they had to run home and head back out various times throughout the day. There are time, health and transportation issues involved in the process. Enzo’s end goal was to solve a problem by redesigning a product.
After the summer of freshman year, Enzo designed an early prototype of the backpack. During his junior year, he sourced and completed a partnership deal with a highly-acclaimed industrial design firm whose clients include Britta, Cisco, Dell, GE, Google, Nike, and many other industry leading companies. By the beginning of senior year, Ventir had 86 concepts and 12 prototypes for the backpack. Enzo and his partner have recently sourced and completed a manufacturing contract with a premium soft-goods manufacturer based in Indonesia. Right now, the company has 4 to 5 samples and expects to launch the product in late November or December 2018.
Enzo is currently working with marketing companies for crowdfunding and figuring out the best marketing practices for the product.
The SI360 connection
Enzo says that joining SI360, a network of forward-thinkers who are innovative and passionate about their work, positively influenced his work. Reading stories about other people’s experiences was really inspirational for him. He recognizes that SI360 has a really strong network and mentions that in a lot of cases mentors not only support and guide students through their social entrepreneurial journeys, but they also help students during their professional paths as well.
Enzo would like to see businesses more passionate about their product or service. He believes founders and designers should care more about the end-users and their interaction with the product.