CHICAGO — Mike Kafka believes athletes and outdoorsmen deserve to have warm hands on their respective battlefields.
That's why Kafka, a quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, created the Roo Inferno Series Hand Pouch. The St. Rita and Northwestern graduate said the lightweight, slim and sleek pouches are ideal for QBs, receivers and other football players, and those seeking big game in the wilderness.
Kafka launched a 35-day Kickstarter campaign for the product on Friday seeking $15,000. As of late Saturday night, he had raised $3,145 from 31 backers. The money will be used to "support production" for the product, "including material costs and manufacturing," according to the Kickstarter page.
"I’ve spent the last two years conducting market research, prototyping and patenting the Roo Inferno, so it’s an amazing accomplishment to get to this point," Kafka, the company's CEO, told DNAinfo Chicago Saturday afternoon. "I am even more excited to see where Kickstarter takes our company and our product."
Kafka said he was drawn to Kickstarter because it allows him to"introduce the Inferno to a broader audience through a contemporary crowd-funding platform.
"Crowdfunding is a great way to test the market and interact with consumers that might have been difficult to reach," Kafka said. "I think it's great to invest but it's even better to get something in return. Kickstarter allows us to do that with each backer. It is also the perfect area to gain increased exposure among other start-up entrepreneurs and designers."
Kafka has used hand-warmers for most of his career, and said he always felt the products were "inadequate."
"Ultimately, I feel that this gap in the market place would be served by someone, like me, who understands the space, and wants to expand beyond the football field to a permanent outdoor environment," Kafka said.
The 27-year-old's goal is to sell the Infernos at major retail stores like Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and Dick's Sporting Goods.
Kafka, who has attempted 16 career NFL passes, has split time as the Bucs' backup and third-string quarterback this season. He's yet to see any game action heading into Sunday's noon game at Washington.
Kafka is in his first season with Tampa Bay. The Chicago native was selected by Philadelphia in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft and played two seasons as the Eagles' backup. He also was signed and then released by the New England Patriots and waived by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
At Northwestern, Kafka threw for 4,265 career yards and 19 touchdowns.
At St. Rita, Kafka won three conference championships and compiled a 35-8 overall record. As a senior in 2004, he accumulated 1,816 total yards with 16 touchdowns.
Kafka said much of his Kickstarter support has come from St. Rita and Northwestern alums, plus friends and family members, many of whom are from Chicago.
"We are seeing a lot great feedback from all of our backers," Kafka said.
For more information on Kafka's kickstarter efforts, click here.
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