By Mary Barrett ’14 and Allison Turcio ’06
We’ve often heard dogs called “man’s best friend,” but after an accident inside, most dog owners would agree that with friends like that, who needs enemies? Luckily, marketing major Chad Bingo ’15 has come up with a “sound” solution to this messy problem. He designed a pet training tool called the “Gotta Go Button” with support from the David ’73 and Christine Spicer ’75 Stack Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Siena.
Bingo’s invention is attracting national attention, appearing on Good Morning America and local television stations across the country. That publicity led to an increase in requests for his new device.
Here’s how the “Gotta Go Button” works: When a pet pushes it, the button shouts the phrase, “I gotta go.” The audible alert tells pet owners that their four-legged friends have some urgent business to conduct.
Despite its usefulness, Bingo’s big button idea didn’t have the funds needed for mass production. While taking an entrepreneurship class, Bingo was encouraged by his professor, Ken Williams, who urged him not to give up on his pet project and his pet product.
Bingo began exploring ways to manufacture the “Gotta Go Button” after consulting Williams and other faculty in the Stack Center. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without them pushing me,” said Bingo.
Bingo said that the Stack Center’s mentors were always there when he needed to tap into their business expertise. “In launching a business you need answers to questions that you can’t Google. You need to ask people with the experience,” said Bingo.
When Bingo received word that his product would be featured on Good Morning America, one of his first phone calls was to Williams. “I asked him, ‘Okay, what are the next steps here?’ and he helped me through that,” Bingo said.
The Stack Center looks for students who are persistent and not afraid of change or failure. “Chad is the poster child for what we would want in a young entrepreneur,” said Stack Center Executive Director and Siena College Executive-In-Residence Michael Hickey ’83.
“Chad already had the idea. We just helped him to build confidence, to understand what steps were next and what milestones he’d have to overcome,” said Hickey, noting that the Stack Center is focused on making student ideas come to life.
After working with the Stack Center, Bingo could move forward with his product. Through his hard work and the support he received at Siena, Bingo has been able to sell almost 500 “Gotta Go Buttons” in the first few months, helping pets prevent accidents and maintain their exalted position as “man’s best friend.”