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IE undergrad invents massaging backpack

Photo of EUME backpack massaging mechanism
EUME’s built-in mechanism massages shoulders, lower back, or both
Photo of EUME backpacks and organizers
EUME offers several styles and accompanying organizers (Photos: Courtesy of EUME LLC)
Photo of Pranay Parekh
Student entrepreneur Pranay Parekh
A Purdue IE undergraduate student invented a massaging backpack and co-founded a start-up company with his parents to produce it.

Pranay Parekh, a Purdue IE junior from Mumbai, India, invented a built-in massaging backpack called EUME (pronounced "you-me"). He and his mother came up with the idea three years ago when he was working on a physics project. Parekh and his parents, Sanjay and Naina Parekh, then co-founded a start-up company called EUME LLC to develop, manufacture and market the backpack.

The backpack is activated by an easy-to-reach button and offers three modes to massage the wearer.

"The first mode activates the top massager, the second mode activates the bottom massager, and the third mode activates both the massagers," explained Parekh. "The massagers massage your deltoids and lower back region where the pressure falls due to heavy backpacks, and helps stimulate blood flow in those areas, allowing those areas to de-stress. As the user walks with the backpack on, the de-stressing allows the user to feel no weight on their back whatsoever."

EUME launched the product in India in August, where over 1000 backpacks have been sold so far. In September EUME also launched a Kickstarter campaign (which ends October 18) to raise funds for manufacturing.

Being an IE student has helped Parekh think about efficiency and price points. "I have learned a lot related to manufacturing, related to efficiency management, and a lot in terms of numbers related to sales and businesses (through IE335 and IE343) and the optimal way to use these things," he said. "This has helped me greatly, especially in being able to manufacture more in less time, and be able to concentrate on scalability."

"I have three different price points to affect different areas of the market, thus allowing almost anyone to be able to buy my product," he added. "From daily backpacks ($149), to travel backpacks ($169), and even classic backpacks for students at lower price points ($99)."

Parekh hopes to get the product into American retail stores by Christmas, and would like to work with the Purdue Foundry in the future to further develop EUME. As well as earning his IE degree, he is pursuing a Purdue Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (similar to a minor). The combination of his IE and entrepreneurship courses have helped him establish and market his new product.

Besides learning practical lessons in business and engineering, Parekh has learned valuable personal lessons. "You should never give up, you should never feel demotivated by what people say, and most importantly, if you feel you have an idea that is dumb, pursue it - because it’s not," he said.

The Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program is the hub for cross-campus entrepreneurship education at Purdue University. Started in 2005, it is one of the largest multi-disciplinary entrepreneurship programs in the country, serving approximately 1,800 students each year. Housed in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and administered through Purdue’s Office of the Provost, the program empowers students in all academic disciplines to turn their innovative ideas into action.

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Writer: DeEtte Starr,

Source: Pranay Parekh,