Innovation At The Roots: PopSockets' Legacy Shines In Boulder And Beyond

Posted on July 26, 2023 by Bailey Crumpton. Tagged: Resources for Candidates, Colorado Companies, For Candidates, Resources for Entrepreneurs, Denver Tech Companies, For Clients

Cover Photo Courtesy of 5280 Magazine

When it comes to great stories about clients we’ve worked with, BWBacon’s 22-year history has no shortage of entertaining tales and connections made through connections, through connections. You know how it is in recruiting!

However, some of the best stories are ones of pure chance and opportunity, where the outcome was neither planned nor expected. In the case of our relationship with PopSockets, many years ago, our founder Dave Bacon had the opportunity to interview PopSockets CEO and Founder, David Barnett, in front of a group of entrepreneurs at an event.

It’s not super well known that David Barnett was actually a professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder before founding the infamous phone accessory many people cannot live without. He shared his fascinating story with the group, including that when his home was lost to a Colorado wildfire back in 2012, he decided to take a leap of faith and use insurance money he had received to kickstart the company. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons…

Origin Story

As for the origin of the idea of PopSockets, Barnett told Forbes that he was tired of his earbuds getting tangled (funny, even that's an old problem...), so he drove to the nearest JOANN Fabric store to find a solution. “I ended up gluing two giant clothing buttons to the backside of my iPhone 3G, with tiny buttons as spacers and voila! Problem solved. I wrapped my headset neatly around the two buttons, and never again was my headset tangled,” said Barnett in the interview. “Unfortunately (or fortunately), I faced a new problem: my friends and family taunted me for my grotesque solution. I spent the next several months developing my invention, the PopSockets grip: an accordion-based gizmo that collapses for pockets and expands to serve as a grip, a stand, and a headset-management system.”

Teaching himself 3D CAD software for designing parts and assemblies, Barnett made 60 prototypes over the course of 15 months until he was able to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund the business, on top of money received from his lost home. From selling PopSockets out of his garage back in 2014, to becoming a global corporation that manufactures thousands of products, PopSockets made $3.6M in revenue in 2022 and employs over 250 people across Boulder, Colorado, San Francisco, California, Finland, and Singapore.

BWB Blog Post 228- PopSockets Legacy Shines In Boulder Internal 1

(PopSockets' brand new campus in Boulder, CO. Photo by 5280 Magazine)

BWBacon + PopSockets Today

Tying back to BWBacon Group, believe it or not, BWB was one of the first company-branded PopSockets ever made over a decade ago. Legendary, we know. This legacy PopSocket featured our classic logo, and in 2019 we collaborated with the company once again to have another batch created, this time with a skiing pig and another with a dancing piece of bacon. They really are quite adorable...

Dave Bacon notes that his good friend was an early investor and after showing him the product, he says he “very quickly saw it as an awesome thing for me to use, and now, I can’t live without one.” Bacon continues, “never at that time did we think they’d be a client, and it’s certainly fun to work with a company that makes a product we actually use. It’s such a simple, functional piece of plastic for the super-computers we put in our pockets, but it really is a game-changer.”

Game-changer is the perfect phrase to describe how PopSockets has revolutionized the market for phone accessories. Since 2014, the brand has become a global household name, but remains close to its humble roots by donating over $4M to nonprofits, as well as investing $1.3M in seed investments for other impact organizations. Today, they are also driving innovation in sustainability, introducing their PlantCore Material made entirely of plants for their newest line of phone cases late last year.

In conclusion, you never know where opportunities will lead you, and we are proud to have supported PopSockets and their teams’ hiring needs earlier this year when they reached out to us for support. We hope our storied history can continue as they grow their operations here in Colorado and nationally.

Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.

If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!