G-Form: Impact Protection, Revolutionized

Apple was started in a garage. G-Form was started in a barn. There were 4 horses, 6 alpacas, cats, dogs, fifty turkeys and a baby deer named Stanley.

G-Form was founded in 2010 by avid athletes who shared in a common vision of using advanced polymer technology to revolutionize impact protection and vibration dampening for competition. The founding team included expertise in a wide variety of sports, but perhaps more importantly expertise in polymer chemistry, 3d design, photography, mold making, entrepreneurship, innovation and out-of-the-box thinking.

The team has worked together to make products developed from the athlete’s point of view rather than have products developed and driven from a “board room” top-down marketing approach — making use of state-of-the-art smart materials and polymers to make products no one previously knew could possibly be made.

Rhode Island Grown

G-Form’s founders have a long and unique history based here in RI. CEO Dan Wyner has operated a local family business, Shawmut Corporation, growing it from a few million in annual sales to over half a billion. After leaving Shawmut for new and exciting adventures, he worked closely with another eventual G-Form founder, Dick Fox, in order to start a new R&D lab/testing center named Polyworks. Polyworks, located in North Smithfield, was integral in working with advanced materials, polymers and molding processes. While at Polyworks, Dan, Dick, and Thom Cafaro (currently VP of Innovations) created a revolutionary patent-pending process to mold smart materials – a feat that has never previously been done. This Reactive Protection TechnologyTM (RPTTM) is an advanced composite technology that absorbs impact.

Co-founder Danny Warshay, also a Rhode Island native and local entrepreneur, has been instrumental in keeping G-Form connected to local talent. By recruiting directly from Brown, RISD, and URI, G-Form has been able to keep up with their growing staffing needs while providing a great environment for recent college graduates.

Along with the personal connections to Rhode Island, geography plays a large role in keeping G-Form local. Our state is the nexus at the center of the G-Form Supply Chain, with fulfillment and prototyping facilities in Fall River MA, chemical sourcing from Rogers, CT and product molds from North Smithfield, RI.

In addition to benefits of personal connections and geography, G-Form has benefited from the support of many statewide organizations. The Chaffee Center for International Business at Bryant University has been a valuable resource in helping with any export related issues. They have also provided G-Form with grants to attend trade shows abroad as well as trade missions.

The Providence Chamber of Commerce has also showed support for G-Form by helping them stay connected with other local businesses. Sue Stenhouse has taken the initiative to reach out to G-Form to help improve the “Knowledge District” in Providence and increase connections between other startups in the area.

The Technology

The G-Form athletic and consumer electronic products utilize RPT™ – Reactive Protection Technology. RPT™ which is a composite blend of PORON®XRD™ material and proprietary G-Form materials and technology that instantly stiffens upon impact and absorbs over 90% of the energy, offering state-of-the-art impact protection in a lightweight, flexible form.

Their athletic products, such as elbow pads, shin pads, crash shorts and protective compression shirts feature unique hinging and molding, which allow athletes the ultimate freedom and flexibility when pushing themselves to the limits. Their low-profile RPT™ pads can be easily worn over or under clothing.

G-Form consumer electronic products also utilize RPTTM to protect your precious consumer electronics. For electronics, the proprietary molded shapes provide maximum protection in the most convenient form factor. If you haven’t seen an iPhone hold up to an 85 MPH slap shot or an iPad dropped from 100,000 feet then you need to check out G-Forms website. G-Form has rigged a weather balloon with an iPad in their G-Form Extreme Edge, a GoPro camera, and a Garmin tracking device and launched the Extreme Edge up 100,000 feet (the edges of space). Needless to say, the iPad lived to tell the story of its fall from great heights.

G-Form’s Growth

G-Form has grown in revenue, staff, office space and in its product offerings since they began in 2010. While keeping with the philosophy of innovation by and for the athlete, the product line has expanded from athletics to consumer electronics to military/tactical gear.

One year ago, G-Form employed 6 full time team members which has since grown to 34. They currently occupy 5,000 sq. feet of office space in Providence and have just signed an additional lease for 15,000 sq. feet with potential of also leasing space in Davol Square. First quarter sales have exceeded totals from all of 2011 and with the upcoming release of the products to the Big Box stores (Staples, Best Buy, Sam’s Club, etc.) end of year sales are expected to grow 600% from last year.

Already with over 20 patents and industry experts raving about the technology labeling it as “the best protective technology in the world hands down” G-Form has set themselves up to be another Rhode Island success story.

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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