Idaho tests help new technology ‘wow’ billionaire investors

By Scott Stark for INL Communications

When local small businessman and entrepreneur Mark Melni designed a new way to make repairs to broken underground electric lines that was more than six times faster than existing methods, he was pretty sure he had an industry-changing invention on his hands. In normal situations, restoring power that much faster is just good business, and in hazardous environments, a sixfold increase in repair times could literally be lifesaving.

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Melni Connectors Jumps into the Shark Tank

Idaho-based Melni Connectors was started by an inventor who designed a connector based on a children’s toy. Last week he found himself on the television hit Shark Tank, pitching the idea to potential investors.


Inventor Mark Melni didn’t know a children’s toy would leave him swimming with the sharks.

Although the connector industry is dominated by a handful of big-name corporations that offer long rosters of legacy and commodity components, Melni Connectors and its innovative electrical connector just proved there are still opportunities for entrepreneurs and start-ups in the industry.

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President Obama Tours Techhelp at BSU