The Last Straw –
March 11, 2020 – So, at 16, while in her junior year at Oxbridge Academy, Benarde invented a product, cleverly titled the NightCap, to protect against drink spiking. It’s a covering that wraps around most glasses and Solo Cups, with a hole just large enough for a straw. When it’s not protecting a drinking vessel, the product doubles as a hair tie or wristband, increasing the likelihood that its owners will remember to take it with them.
When researching her invention, Benarde found “different kinds of lids” on the market, “but nothing that had a dual use. It’s a way to incorporate something you can use every day.” Benarde spent months on trial and error, developing early models using socks and her mother’s hosiery, before settling on the black nylon-and-Spandex version that has gone to production.
To fund the project, she sought assistance from her 22-year-old brother, Michael, a student of Florida State University’s Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship. He helped organize an Indiegogo page for the NightCap, filmed a professional-looking video depicting its use in a social situation, hired a model for a photo shoot showing off the product, and was instrumental in exceeding their crowd-funding goal of raising $12,000 for marketing, manufacture and distribution.