UNC, Duke students collaborate on sweaty-palm solution
The small group has been working on Clutch Lotion to eliminate sweaty palms.
The lotion was the brainchild of sophomore David Spratte. He thought of the idea when he was in high school and eventually decided to do something about it.
“A turning point was college interviews,” Spratte said. “It was a confidence killer when you had to go in there and you’re trying to drastically wipe your hands against your pants to avoid the general awkwardness that was about to ensue.”
Spratte said once he went to college, the idea took a back seat, but it was revitalized over the summer when he began discussing it with Duke sophomore Kasper Kubica, who had been working with various startups since high school.
“The people I’d been working with on startups up to that point didn’t really have a passion for the product,” Kubica said. “The thing that was different about David was that David really cared about solving the problem of sweaty hands.”
Kubica said the product would be nothing without UNC sophomore Chris Jenks — the chemist who actually makes the product. Jenks said all the materials used to make the lotion were available commercially.
Prior to Clutch Lotion, the team wasn’t very close, but the project spurred their friendship.
Kubica said he thought it was important that they were friends because it allowed them to be completely honest with one another without fear of the other taking offense.
“When a friend says to you, ‘That’s a freaking stupid idea,’ you’re like ‘Well, it’s probably a bad idea.’”
Jenks and Kubica agreed that trust was an important part of their business relationship.
“I probably haven’t met anybody in my life who I trust down to the core as much as David outside my family,” Kubica said.
Though it is not available yet, Jenks said the lotion is close to being finished.
“I’d guess we’re about 90 to 95 percent done,” Jenks said.
The team has not yet promoted the lotion because they are waiting for perfection.
“When we’re ready to go, we can go full throttle,” Jenks said.
They have plans for the future but are focusing on the small scale for the time being.
“We haven’t cured cancer — we’re just stopping sweaty hands,” he said.