His 90-year-old mother may not see too well, but when Ed Bettinardi designed a device allowing her to read enlarged text on her TV screen, a market opportunity became quite clear to them both. Bettinardi founded Innoventions, in Littleton, Colo., to sell his Magni-Cam, a hand-held electronic magnifier that enlarges text or images for viewing on a television screen, to the visually impaired. With more than 2 million Americans legally blind -- most of them elderly -- demand for a convenient, low-cost reading tool is strong, he contends. But how to reach customers who literally can't see your ads? By direct mail to support groups, physicians, and vision specialists. At $700, Innoventions' product undercuts the competition by 75%.
-- Anne Murphy