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Mike started Lever Gear in 2015. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Lever Gear?
Before founding Lever Gear, I was a product design and development consultant based in San Francisco. Basically, I would help companies with the industrial design and mechanical engineering of their products from idea to production.
As an independent consultant, I was able to work with a wide range of clients from startups, to larger design consultancies, to large OEM companies. I got to see first hand how different companies went through the process of developing products and bringing them to market.
Working for other companies gave me the opportunity and resources to work on some cool projects, but I always had a desire to design my own products. I was continually trying to invent, design and develop ideas that I could build a brand and a business around. But I also wanted to be selective about the product I chose because I knew it would be something I would need to stay committed to for years.
After a few false starts, I finally decided on the Toolcard as the product to launch my business. It ticked all the boxes I was looking for in a first product, which were:
- Few parts
- Easy to warehouse and ship
- Low tech
- The right price point
- Opportunity for innovation and design, and
- In a market niche that I was excited about
The Toolcard Pro came out of a brainstorming exercise I did several years ago. I asked myself what could products could I design that are the size of a credit card. Many of those ideas were tools that made it into the Toolcard.
I didn’t act on the idea until a few years later when I came across a similar product in a gift store. It was a neat product and there were others like it, but I felt I could add a lot of value with better design and engineering.