Invention City

Rated A+ by BBB

Invention City helps independent inventors and companies confirm, develop, protect, license, manufacture, and market new product ideas. Our company began in 1986 with a sole inventor in a family garage. Since then the products we commercialized generated an estimated $500+ million in retail sales. We know from big successes and many failures that the only way to succeed as a professional inventor is to fail as early and inexpensively as possible. That perspective is what we share with our clients. We help inventors spend their time and money wisely to maximize the chances of success and minimize the costs of failure so they can try, try again. We also license and represent selected inventions in a wide range of categories.

Joel Marks - inventor in garage
Joel Marks, Invention City Co-Founder in 1987

Honest Inventing

Invention City's promise of Honest Inventing is not a slogan. We built it into our DNA, and begins with our Brutally Honest Reviews, where we tell inventors what they need to know rather than what they want to hear. We want to make money with our clients rather than from them.

A Few Testimonials

July 18, 2017
"I have been involved in product development and personal inventing for over 30 years. In that time I have had many good fortunes with my ideas. I have also had my share of encounters with less-than honest and wholly-valueless product review companies (and have had several colleagues also fall prey to their often predatory tactics). I am very grateful to have stumbled upon Invention City and have already passed it along to several friends. There are no tactics, salesmanship or pie-in-the-sky the real world of product development you must leave your wild-eyed optimism at the door and seek out truly objective, insightful and above-reproach reviewers. If you have an idea and are in need of an honest, real-world assessment look no further.... Invention City IS your destination." - Dr. J Kennedy

May 9, 2016
"Good Morning Mike - I decided to try my hand at marketing my invention. The Invention City product evaluation on [my invention] was instrumental in getting me to this decision. It gave me a shot of confidence that I needed so badly. You and Dan are great!!" - Therese M.

January 8, 2015
"If you're seeking an opinion, and EVERY inventor needs an outside unbiased one early in the developing phase, these are the guys to talk with. An honest appraisal of your idea or new product concept is what you will receive from the professionals at Invention City. You may not like what you're going to hear, or expect to hear what they're going to say, but given how close you can become to an idea or new product concept it's something you need to experience before going too far into development. They're honest, and insightful in their evaluation - a welcome breath of fresh perspective. Keep your eyes and ears open, take away the advice from these professionals, and you and your idea or new product concept will benefit from it. Will work with them again, happily." - Jack F.

January 6, 2015
"I have never come across any invention related companies such as Invention City inc. I have been working with IC's president Mr. Marks directly with my couple of inventions. Mr. Marks had devoted his personal time at many different occasions. Mr. Marks even went out of his way to meet me to discuss the goals of my inventions. In order to accomplish my goals, Mr. Marks always provided me with suggestions and advises to help me. I have dealt with other companies prior to it, but I have never experienced such a friendship based on business relationship like I did with Invention City. I would highly recommend Invention City to anyone, who is inventor and entrepreneur to accomplish their goals. The President Mr. Marks is always straight forward and brutally honest with me regarding inventions. I personally thank Mr. Marks and Mr. Fulford for their personal help and devotion. Thank you." - Ali N
June 18, 2014
"I just want to give a big thumbs up to Invention City. I had the most professional experience I have ever had. And they proved to me that they are for real. I can compare Invention City, Inc. to the Shark Tank a TV show I love because of the honesty and not someone that will tell you a lie just to get into your bank account or take a big charge on your credit card. Dan who reviewed my invention was great. He listened to me and gave me great advice concerning my invention. And believe me that conversation with Dan saved me a lot of money that I don't have to give away at this time, to some other companies that promise the sky, and you end up with a empty bank account, and an invention that goes nowhere. Invention City Inc charges a very small fee for their review and if they feel that you invention or idea is ready for the marketplace they tell you. And if it is something that's not ready to go forward just yet they will give you great advice on how you should proceed if you desire to. I recommend Invention City. to anyone who has an invention, try Invention City first, before they go to any one else. This company is very Professional and have real good people that care, and tell you the truth. My mother always said if you know the truth, the truth will set you free. In my case I say, if you want to hear the truth about your invention or idea go to Invention City Inc, first and you will not regret it. Just want to say thanks again Invention City. I didn't lose any money. " - Laverne T

Read more testimonials at BBB

Frequent Questions

Do you invest in invention ideas and businesses?
Yes, but we are very particular. Our investments are usually in the form of revenue sharing deals, where we provide services such as product development in return for equity and/or a share of revenue. We also do licensing deals where we take a project forward at our own risk and expense and pay the inventor a royalty if the project is successful (the inventor pays nothing after our initial review). The first step to have an invention or business concept considered for investment or licensing is a Brutally Honest Review.

How do I protect my idea so it is not stolen?
The short answer is that you apply for patents and trademarks, claim copyrights, use confidentiality agreements, and keep your proprietary information secret as much as possible. The long answer is that protection is complicated and imperfect. Here are 6 things you should know about patents. Here is more info on what we call the disclosure dilemma.

Why should I trust you?
Invention City is rated A+ by BBB with great reviews from real people. We have more than three decades of real inventing experience. Our relationship with you is covered by our Confidentiality Agreemeent. And because we make our significant profits from revenue sharing rather than fees, our interests align with yours.

Do you help with patents?
Yes. We make strategic and next-step recommendations from business and engineering perspectives and can refer you to the patent attorneys and agents we work with ourselves.

Do you help with prototypes?
Yes. We help with industrial design, engineering and prototyping. Learn more about our prototyping services here.

Do you help with manufacturing?
Yes. After helping to refine your idea so it is ready for quotations, we can help you with sourcing, tooling, manufacturing, assembly, packaging, shipping, warehousing, and fulfillment.

Do you help with crowd funding projects on platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo?
Absolutely. We love crowdfunding as a way to get a new product idea into the market and if we believe a project has strong commercial potential are open to working on a rev-share basis.

Revenue Sharing

In a business where most projects fail, we believe the best way to reduce risk on all sides is to spend as little as possible until a project becomes successful. Often in the form of royalties derived from licensing, revenue sharing is at the heart of our business model. We have licensing deals today that have already run for twenty years and are expected to run for twenty-plus more. Few deals last for decades, but our attitude toward every deal is the same. We expect to live with a deal for a long time and need it to work for both sides. Fairness is a necessity.

There are downsides to rev-share deals, the biggest being that if a product is successful, the inventor/entrepreneur/licensee will end up paying far more than if the development fees and intellectual property rights are paid for up front. There is also the issue of control. If you own everything outright, you have no contractual obligations or restraints.

Invention City is highly selective for rev-share deals: we give offers to roughly one percent of the opportunities offered to us. The terms we offer for rev-share are highly dependent on circumstances and risk and can range from a split of 20/80 to 80/20.

Many inventors want to continue working with us even after we reject their invention, and some are not interested in rev-share deals at all. For those inventors we provide fee based consulting and referrals .

Some Past Products


Invention City helps inventors and entrepreneurs with every step of the commercialization process from ideation to Amazon listing and Wal-Mart shelf. Our deepest expertise is in product development, intellectual property, licensing and manufacturing sourcing and management.




Boston, Minneapolis, Los Angeles
(meetings by appointment only).

share this article: facebook