June 27. 2012 11:03PM

Invention is discreet way to carry pills

Union Leader Correspondent

A Capsule Pen pill carrier, the invention of New Hampshire native Joe Cole. (Courtesy)


A 32-year-old Franklin High School graduate has come up with a new way of carrying pills, and his invention is beginning to pay off.

Joe Cote — who grew up in Manchester with his father, Realtor and retired city firefighter Robert Cote, before moving to Franklin — has contracted two New Hampshire companies to make his first 1,500 Capsule Pen products.

The Capsule Pen is a pen-sized cylinder that can hold up to seven large pills or larger numbers of smaller pills, Cote said from his New York City home Tuesday. It is not recognizable as a pill container, allowing people “to be proud of keeping their pills with them at all times, in a stylish container that doesn't embarrass,” he said.

Cote, who was an advertising major before he left college and has since had success as an entrepreneur and publisher in the New York area with Dance Magazine and dance.com, said the Capsule Pen idea was obvious.

“I went out to buy a pill case and all of them were ugly and bulky,” he said.

He took his idea to a well-known website that bills itself as “the world's largest funding platform for creative projects,” a site where inventors and entrepreneurs display their products and site users pre-order them if they are interested. He posted his Capsule Pen project designs and plans a few months ago, and as of this week he's had 240 orders, which has helped generate the $15,000 he needs for his first production run. The prices start at $15.

He has made agreements with Pelham Plastics in Pelham and Dunn Industries in Manchester to produce the pens. Once the pens are produced, he plans to bring his product to large retail buyers and medical device manufacturers in hopes of expanding his business and making the idea a success.

The start-up process has required investments, and he has raised $31,000 from friends in New Hampshire who will become part-owners of the company.

“They will be all New Hampshire made,” he said. “I came back home to see if any of my friends wanted to invest, and lots of them did. It shows you the power of a good product.”

Much of the investment money was needed for the patent, and the product is now listed as patent pending. In filing for the patent, Cote says he specified 62 possible names and types of his pens so that his idea and his products are not copied.

He has a long list of other ideas to pursue after this, he said. “Basically I am becoming a product designer,” he said.

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Dan Seufert may be reached at dseufert@newstote.com.