18 Reputable Companies That Pay For Ideas

Do you have ideas that you think would make the world a better place—or simply make a task easier—but have no clue about how to transform your idea into reality?  Well, there is good news.  A number of companies will be happy to pay you for your ideas if they will improve aspects of their product lines, processes, and/or delivery systems.  You just need to find a company that would profit from your idea(s).  

You might have a new consumer gadget or child’s toy in mind.  Or perhaps observing your favorite uncle’s discomfort has inspired you to conceive of an improved colostomy bag design.  A number of companies that accept unsolicited ideas are described here, grouped by category. Some require that you submit a patent or patent application number with your idea, but most do not.  Be certain to read the submission disclosure document on the company’s website carefully before submitting your idea.  A lot of them indicate that they do not guarantee confidentiality, which opens the door to the possibility having your idea stolen if it is not patented.  

Note that you will have to be patient.  Some companies indicate that it can take a couple of months for them to review your submission, and several of them tell you not to expect to hear from them at all if your idea is rejected.

Consumer Products

  1. Henkel: Founded in Germany in 1876 as a family business by entrepreneur Fritz Henkel, this now-multinational company continues to value new ideas, whether they be related to one of their product lines or their processing or packaging methodologies.  Henkel has diverse product offerings, ranging from adhesive technologies, cleaning agents and homecare products, to cosmetics.  Join their partnership program to introduce your creative ideas for new products or solutions to some of their technological challenges.
  1. Jokari Home Solutions: Jokari specializes in kitchen utensils and gadgets, and, according to their website, is currently looking for the next great housewares idea.  Contact them with yours by calling or emailing them or submitting the form provided on their website.
  1. Unilever:  Unilever is a global provider of consumer goods, headquartered in Britain. The company encourages the submission of new design and technology ideas and even has a partnership program, Open Innovation, in place for the development of new products.  You can browse a list of specific challenges on which the company would like to have input on Unilever’s website.
  1. 3M:  U.S.-headquartered 3M is a multinational company that develops, manufactures, and distributes a wide variety of products, including safety and industrial equipment, transportation and electronics, and healthcare, home improvement, and office supply products.  You can access a form to submit your idea on the company’s website.
  1. Sharper Image:  Sharper Image specializes in offering unique, innovative consumer products in a wide variety of categories and is always on the lookout for the next hot item that will be destined to fly off the shelves.  You will need to provide a description of your product, with a photo or video if you’ve already created a prototype, or a sketch of your idea if not.  The merchandise team at Sharper Image provides faster feedback than most other companies, indicating that they will follow up with you within 14 days.
  1. Edison Nation:  Edison Nation works with you to get your idea for a new consumer product to market.  Using the online submission form, you describe your idea, explain why it’s innovative, add a photo or video if you want, and pay a $25 submission fee.  The Edison Nation team reviews your proposal and pitches it to its partners if appropriate.  The company also handles the licensing and launch of the new product, and you get a share of the profits.  All of the information you submit is kept confidential.

Sporting Goods

  1. Wilson:  If there’s a sport, you’ll likely find equipment and accessories for it on Wilson’s website, and the company is always looking for game-changing innovation.  The company will only consider submissions accompanied by a utility patent or patent application number, and their review process can take several weeks.
  1. Escalade, Incorporated:  Escalade manufactures and markets sporting goods, including fitness equipment, game tables, billiards accessories, and outdoor games.  They are always interested in new ideas and believe that users of their products can provide them with input to keep them state-of-the-art.  You will be requested to provide your product description, its purposes, how it functions, and its benefits.

Automotive

  1. Dorman Products:  Dorman is a supplier of replacement parts and fasteners to the automotive aftermarket industry. If cars and trucks are your thing, you might have an idea for a new or existing Dorman product category.  You could win up to $500 for your submission.

Medical Technology

  1. BD:  Becton, Dickinson & Company, better known simply as BD, is a multinational medical technology company headquartered in the U.S.  If your inspiration falls into this category, print the Consideration of Suggestions document that can be found on their website, review the terms, mail your completed form to the address provided, and be prepared to wait four to six weeks to hear back from them.  Online submissions are not accepted.  

Marine Gear

  1. Mustang Survival:  Mustang Survival is focused on providing safety and comfort to persons on or in the water.  Their products include inflatable floatation devices, dry suits, dry bags, and other marine accessories.  The company prefers patented inventions, but will also review your unpatented idea.

Children’s Toys and Games

  1. Spinmaster:  Spinmaster is a Canadian-based, multinational children’s entertainment company that is focused on innovative toys and games.  Since its inception in 1994, the company has received a total 0f 115 nominations for the Toy of the Year Award (the Oscar of the toy industry), with 5 nominations in 2021 alone.  If you have an idea you want to share, begin by signing the non-disclosure agreement on the company’s website.
  1. Play with a Purpose: Play with a Purpose emphasizes toys and games that promote creativity and physical activity in children.  If you have an idea, drawing, or prototype that you believe fits their mission, you can either contact them by phone or complete the form found on their website for more information regarding their product development program.

Apps

  1. Mobile App Fund:  Wonder why there’s NOT “an app for that”? Present your vision for that new app that everyone will find useful to Mobile App Fund.  If your idea passes the company’s tests and reviews, they will provide up to $1 million for the design development, launch, and marketing of the app.  You will earn anywhere from 25% to 50% of the profits, depending on tier approval.  One of the current top-selling apps in iTunes app store generates $50,000 a day, which can translate to $25,000 a day for the person with a really great idea that Mobile App Fund promotes.

If you have the knowledge and tools necessary to design and build it yourself, instead of simply selling your idea for an app, you can sell the app itself for more money.  Below are a couple of marketplaces that provide you a platform to do so:

  1. Flippa: Flippa is an online marketplace for the purchase and sale of websites, domains, online businesses, and apps.  The site has thousands of apps listed for sale—of both the Android and iOS varieties.  The site charges a fixed, basic listing fee of $15 for apps.  There are a number of listing upgrades from which to choose—for more money, of course. You will also pay a percentage of the selling price (a “success fee”), when someone buys your app.  
  1. Fliptopia:  Fliptopia is similar to Flippa in that it you will pay both a listing fee and a success fee.  Unlike Flippa, Fliptopia is dedicated to the purchase and sale of apps only.

You may be able to generate years, if not a lifetime, of passive income for yourself if you retain ownership of your app rather than selling it.  There are a number of ways to monetize it, all of which are available for apps in both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

  1. Google Play: Google Play supports a number of monetization methods.  You can establish a fee when someone downloads your app from the Play Store for one thing.  This, however, may not be the best option for most apps since the general public is used to being able to download an app for free.  However, you can generate earnings by offering in-app purchases and/or upgrades to a “premium” edition. You can also earn advertising revenue by allowing Google AdMob ads to be displayed within your app.
  1. Apple App Store:  Similar to Google’s AdMob ads, Apple has the iAd network that enables you to generate income by displaying their ads on your app.  Offering in-app purchases and/or upgrades is also available for iOS apps.

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