Hillel Glazer ’01YC has always enjoyed pondering the quintessential inventor’s question, ”Wouldn’t it be cool if?” Contemplating cool creations led Glazer to one hot product. Since inventing the patented HeatTrak–a heated, snow-melting walkway mat that he launched in 2004–Glazer has enjoyed steady sales growth as the mat is now distributed globally.
Like many inventors, Glazer has an inborn curiosity about the way things work. ”I was always taking things apart and putting them back together and trying to come up with better ways of doing things,” Glazer explained. After graduating Yeshiva College with an economics degree, he joined Standard & Poor’s, where his day-to-day work evaluating small start-up companies continued to fuel his entrepreneurial dreams. He decided to make the leap to full-time inventor at the young age of 24. ”I wanted to at least try to do something on my own,” he said. ”I didn’t want to go through life saying: ‘What if?”’
HeatTrak was an idea that Glazer first tinkered with in high school when he combined a regular doormat with a bed-warmer heating pad. That first attempt was a failure, but Glazer still thought it had potential and he set out to perfect it. With the help of some engineers, he soon had a working prototype. The product took some time to catch on, but once Glazer realized that in addition to his original target market of homeowners he should focus on large commercial facilities, sales began to heat up.
”I wanted to at least try to do something on my own. I didn’t want to go through life saying: what if?”
With increased sales has come increased hiring, and Glazer says that YU alumni are a valuable source of talent. His marketing director Adrianne Burgher ’06S is a graduate, and he actively recruits students for internships. ”I know the caliber of YU graduates,” said Glazer. ”YU alumni are people who like to challenge things. They want to understand why they’re doing a task, and are able to contribute new ideas.”