UCSB alumnus Matt Dubberley founded local company LighterBro LLC last May that produces a multi-tool product, which recently accrued a high number of sales at 110 retail stores across the country, including hemp clothing and accessories store Hempwise in Isla Vista.
The product, called LighterBro, is a small, portable multi-tasking tool resembling a Swiss Army knife and is designed with a compartment to hold a BIC lighter, a bottle opener, a pair of scissors, a sharp Katana-shaped blade that can double as a screwdriver and an actual mini screwdriver designed to take apart electronics. The stainless steel tool was engineered by Dubberley and USC alumnus Kyber Logue and is sold for as low as $9.99.
In inventing the multi-tool, Dubberly said he and Logue intended to add an element of fun and sociability to a practical items needed during ordinary tasks.
“Our goal is to make your life ‘lighter, bro’ — sisters included too — or easier and more fun by building the highest quality and most conveniently unifying multi-tools you have ever used,” Dubberly said. “[These are] stylish tools that are not just made for everyday work but for enjoying some of life’s simple pleasures after the work is done.”
Dubberley, who graduated second in the Mechanical Engineering Class of 2002, said the UCSB Engineering Department gave him the technical expertise necessary to develop such a device. He said the greatest challenge was getting the LighterBro device to cost $10, created using advanced computer image modeling techniques and manufactured with different types of material.
In this light, Dubberly said his education at UCSB greatly helped him during his product-creating process. After graduating, he attended UC Berkeley for graduate school, but Dubberly said he still believes what he experienced at Santa Barbara made a great impact on his work.
“UCSB is a great resource, so take advantage of it while you are there,” Dubberly said. “I went to grad school at one of the top engineering schools in the world after UCSB, [but] I would easily say that I learned more and built more valuable technical and personal skills at UCSB than at Berkeley. UCSB was also harder, in case anyone is wondering.”
According to Dubberly, it was his and Logue’s social experiences — Dubberley’s time in Isla Vista and Logue’s travels around the world — which provided the main inspiration for the concept behind LighterBro. Dubberley said they intended to combine the bottle opener and the lighter, two “socially engineered tools,” in order to improve consumer lives.
“We took two everyday items that have not really changed for years and, by unifying them into one convenient product, people’s lives are easier and better,” Dubberly said. “Unity and the world working together is the path to improving all of our lives on our planet earth, and LighterBro is a powerful, tangible example of just how great a concept unity is.”
Logue, whose inspiration for LighterBro came to him during a hiking trip in Santa Barbara, echoed Dubberly’s statement and said the philosophical principles of unity and balance drive their company.
“I think it’s one of the secrets to life is staying balanced,” Logue said. “Think, if you do anything in excess, you are just setting yourself up for problems … The product is a balanced product which covers a lot of uses.”
UCSB first-year Electrical Engineering graduate student Jorge Padilla said he found it encouraging and exciting to know that UCSB alumni are finding success.
“The UCSB Engineering Program is top notch,” Padilla said. “It’s always great to see successful people come out of it. I’m not surprised a UCSB student was able to create something awesome like this.”