In past spotlights, we’ve interviewed creatives from the beauty, fashion and PR industry. Today, we delve into the mind of a young tech entrepreneur that began his entrepreneurial jaunt at the age of 13, unlocking iPhones at a local Starbucks. Born and raised in Toronto, Richard Waters is the founder and creator of Phantom Glass, a high-quality screen protector that now sells across North America at Amazon, Best Buy and anywhere else good tech is sold. Waters engineered the design, self-funded the project and knocked on the doors of some of the world’s most renowned retailers all by the age of 20. He has since been featured as one of Notable’s Young Entrepreneurs and has even spoken on Global TV. We recently chatted with him about how he got started, some of the obstacles he has faced and the advice he has for other young entrepreneurs. Check it out below and learn more about Phantom Glass here.
SD: Tell us a little about yourself, what should our readers know about you?
RW: I have a great passion for technology. I also have a great fondness for classic rock.
SD: How were you introduced to the tech world and what interested you about it?
RW: I was always interested in technology. My father had a computer service business throughout my childhood, and I still get teased about being four years old and wanting a Palm Pilot (it was the coolest thing at the time). I think I’ve owned more than 100 phones since the age of 13… Is that sad?
SD: Why did you decide to get into the screen protector business?
RW: I absolutely hated screen protectors, but always used them. There had to be something better, but there wasn’t. You’d have to be crazy or insane these days to enter the super-crowded “Tech Accessory” world, but thankfully tens of thousands of people love their Phantom Glass, and we’re expanding our reach globally every day!
SD: Why the name Phantom Glass?
RW: Naming the product was by far the hardest part of developing it. What do you call something that sits on your phone and is practically invisible? We didn’t want to go with anything too hokey (like shield, guard, skin, etc.). It was actually my father who suggested “It’s like it’s not even there. Like a Phantom.” Thus, Phantom Glass.
SD: What was the toughest obstacle you’ve had to overcome with your business?
RW: The toughest obstacle by far is relinquishing control. I have such a passion for what we do, and want to be involved at all levels. The hardest thing to do is to find great people that build a fantastic team, and give up some responsibilities to them. I’ve managed to do that, and we now have a productive, hard-working, and growing team of amazing people. I also get slightly more sleep, too! But not that much.
SD: Why will our readers love Phantom Glass?
RW: It’s thin, it’s strong, it’s durable. It’s like there is nothing on your phone! If you hate it, we’ll refund your misery.
SD: Where can our readers pick-up Phantom Glass?
RW: Anywhere good tech is sold! Staples, Amazon, Visions, NCIX, and Best Buy are a few that come to mind.
SD: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
RW: Don’t be afraid to do something you believe in. Banks will finance your business, not your dream. It takes a lot of work to get from “dream” to “reality”.
SD: What’s next for you or what would you like to do next?
RW: We have a ton of cool new stuff in the works! Great innovations and products that will make people go “Wow!” about something so mundane and simple like as a screen protector.
Connect with Richard Waters & Phantom Glass on:
Website | www.phantom.glass
Facebook | Phantom Glass
Instagram | @PhantomGlass