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Made in KC Series: Meet the Engineers of Tappecue

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

Today's episode features the engineer team of Tappecue WiFi BBQ Thermometer and the process it took to come from prototyping to production.

Tappecue's very first prototype was built out by a small group of engineers from the Kansas City area: (pictured below) Gina Bourret, Rahul Paropkari, Jacob Bourret, and Aniruddha Shukla, (not pictured) Craig Berscheidt and Tanvi Narkhede. Gina met Rahul on the plane ride coming from India after a business trip with Tracer Software. Rahul is an Electrical Engineer who was on his way to the University of Missouri - Kansas City to continue his education and look for opportunities in America. Aniruddha was Rahul's roommate and colleague who had a knack for entrepreneurship. Shukla was also attending UMKC and went through the E-Scholar's Program to help Gina with her current business. UMKC also played a critical role in helping create Tappecue. Through the university, we connected with many other people willing to help launch this awesome product.

Another year later 2012-2013, Gina and Jacob went through the Entrepreneurial Scholars Program at UMKC with the idea of "Find It, Keep It" - a smart device helping you find lost items and prevent losing them again. However, throughout the course, we deterred our progress with that invention and focused on another — Tappecue. After placing 2nd in the UMKC's Venture Challenge, Tappecue decided to launch the product at the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle. We learned that when you're counting on people who are working out of sweat equity, setting a launch date at an event like such provides external accountability to get projects done. On that day, Team Tappecue was created. After getting permission from KCBS, we went around to all the booths and pitched. The feedback we got was invaluable. As we sold more and more units, we began getting more and more feedback and found areas for improvement. Fortunately, our office was across the hall from a company of professional engineers. Enter Cargt Consulting.

Tappecue Prototype with Founders
Cargt Consulting

Cargt's first project was helping us update our resistors from 2.2K to 10K, which improved the accuracy of our probes. Cargt was founded in 2013 and now employees 7 people working on anywhere from 8-12 projects at a time. Cargt and Custom Design Engineering worked together to create the Tappecue V2 and Touch.

Tappecue Progression from Prototype to Tappecue Touch
Tappecue Progression - from Prototype to Latest Model w/ Touchscreen

Our progression enabled us to work towards a plastic enclosure made by LeVic Plastics to water-seal the Tappecue when we launched the V2. Mark Vogt (pictured below), Co-Founder of Cargt Consulting, is the lead engineer working with Tappecue, accompanied by Kevin, Patty, and Mandy. Cargt specializes in single board computers for industrial markets from prototyping to manufacturing — high-end tech.

They designed and build our top board with the touchscreen display. For larger quantity manufacturing runs, we work with a company out in Blue Springs, MO called eCircuits.

Cargt offers lower quantity runs and for test marketing, high-end production and turnkey solutions.

In summary, as we listened to our customers and progressed as a company, we were able to create a superior, high-quality product. Now with Tappecue Touch and it's add-on features, we can set up and use our unit with ease because of the touchscreen, we can control up to four blowers at once, and monitor up to 8 temperature sensors... look out in the near future for some game changing enhancements!

Stay tuned for next months issue — Made in Kansas City: Meet the Manufactures where we'll be showcasing our plastics manufacturer, LeVic Plastics, and our board manufacturer, eCircuits.

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