Prova-iding the best: Seniors launch company


Sophie Lopez ’19 and Bailey Towill ’19 utilize Prova technology to access books without taking the backpack off. Printed with permission of Jonathan Damico.

Lindsay Wu

After nearly two years of preparation, Jonathan Damico ’19 and Cameron Schiller ’19 launched Prova Design Backpacks, a start-up company that manufactures redesigned versions of the traditional school bag.

“We’re really happy with the success of our Kickstarter,” Schiller said. “It’s insane. Within the first day we raised $26,000, which is mind-boggling for us. Our aim for the company is to make the best backpack in the world for students by leveraging our unique position as students.”

As of press time, Prova has raised over $46,000, exceeding its intial funding goal of $35,000.

Damico and Schiller mainly worked with Samantha Ho ’16 and Allen Gan ’18 during the design process to create Series 1, their first product, as well as their logo and promotional video.

Schiller said he and Damico wanted to ensure that the Prova design team was made up of all students.

“[Damico] and I always say, ‘Oh yeah, Tinder and Facebook, all of those are really designed by students, for students their age,’” Schiller said. “You’re not going to find a high school student designing a retirement fund, and you’re not going to find a six-year-old designing a dating app, because it just does not make sense. When we go to school every day, we can see exactly where all the hang ups are with backpacks, and we really live in the problem itself.”

After the two sent out surveys to their friends and peers, Ho created different sketches and revised them according to the responses. Damico and Schiller then chose a design, which they sent to their manufacturer in order to create a physical prototype.

“We went through a ton of designs because we really wanted to make sure we had it perfect,” Damico said. “We made sure to ask a lot of people, get a lot of user feedback from our peers at Harvard-Westlake and have our personal friends fill out multiple-page surveys.”

Damico and Schiller said they also hope to gain personal business experience from running Prova.

As of now, the two are currently planning to continue their current sales online but are unsure of the next steps that they want to take with their business.

“We had Kickstarter, and we will be jumping on Amazon, as well as our own website,” Schiller said. “We’ll keep selling [our backpacks] until people don’t want them anymore, then maybe build a second backpack depending on it. Right now, a lot of people want the bag, and as long as people keep wanting our bags, we are going to keep building them.”