Realize Inc. Supports Client as He Prepares to Pitch on "Shark Tank"

Company owner Travis Perry is ready to seek funding in dangerous waters after two years of developing his guitar product. On Friday, the Alabama inventor will pitch his ChordBuddy Guitar Learning System to the ravenous business tycoons of ABC's "Shark Tank." Perry developed his product with help from Indiana rapid prototyping company Realize Inc.

Perry has taught guitar lessons to hundreds of students over the past 30 years. ChordBuddy fits on the neck of an acoustic or electric guitar. It is designed to help people learn to play guitar in as little as two months by pushing the colored buttons that correspond with different chords.

"The Realize team was a great partner to have during the development of the ChordBuddy," Perry said. "It was a bonus that they had a couple of guitar players on their staff and that allowed me to communicate my concept and requirements with ease. The series of custom finished rapid prototypes they quickly produced for me really helped accelerate the ChordBuddy's journey to production."

Products often begin as just an image in an innovative mind. In the case of ChordBuddy, it started with Perry's dream to create an easier way to play the guitar -- and his phone call to Realize, Inc.

Realize creates custom rapid prototypes of products for clients in numerous industries. The ChordBuddy project was a little out of the ordinary in that a typical Realize client is a mid-to-large established company, said Realize President Todd Reese.

"When Travis first contacted me, we spoke in depth about this idea he'd had for years. I could sense his passion and we immediately connected," Reese said. "When the conversation ended, it felt as if I had just spoken with an old friend. I knew that Realize would be a great fit for what Travis wanted to accomplish."

Perry called Reese one evening in 2009 and asked if he was familiar with playing guitar. Having played guitar for a decade and with one even propped up at the end of his office desk, Reese proved eager to help Perry create his envisioned product. He connected Perry with Troy Mason, owner of Impulse Product Development, who performed CAD design work for the ChordBuddy. Realize performed Stereolithography and custom finishing and painting services. Multiple versions of the ChordBuddy were produced as Perry evaluated and critiqued different designs leading to the final design.

Now, Perry is ready to pitch to a true shark's den of investors including billionaire Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks; and entrepreneur Daymond John, founder and CEO of the FUBU apparel empire.

So can Perry swim in dangerous waters -- or will he get eaten by the sharks? Find out at 8 p.m. EST this Friday on ABC.

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