From offices in Boise, Post Falls, Twin Falls, and Pocatello, TechHelp Specialists help Idaho manufacturers, food processors and entrepreneurs improve their competitiveness through continuous product and process innovation.

Inventor Mark Melni is also a classically trained pianist.

New Product & Market Development
Melni Connectors
Twin Falls, ID

Chinese Finger Trap Connects Melni to Success

Observing his staff at Microchips Etc wear out their hands from crimping wires led Mark Melni to latch on to the idea of the Chinese Finger Trap as a better way to connect wires. Mark took his nub of an idea to the TechHelp New Product Development (NPD) Team at Boise State, and they helped evolve his concept into a growing product line of reliable UL approved electrical connectors, used in a variety of industries and applications. 


TechHelp, a member of the MEP National Network™, helped Mark finalize design parameters and materials using SolidWorks and helped him evolve his concept using 3D modeling and solid prototyping into a patented, finished product. TechHelp’s artistic capabilities helped Mark create “show ready” prototypes used to market his idea with customers and at trade shows. NPD worked with Melni to refine designs that would improve function based on field testing and to adapt the connector to other applications.



  • The company received a large investment via Shark Tank appearance. 
  • Generated 4 patents in 3 years and is developing a growing portfolio of patented products.
  • Received initial purchase order of $550,000.
  • Hired an initial staff of 6 employees.
  • Working with TechHelp saved costs of $1,000 and investment of $250,000. 
  • Made productive investments in plant, equipment & information systems of $87,000.

“I wonder what Tesla or Edison might have done with a resource like the TechHelp New Product Development Team. Without them, the Connector would still be just an idea in my head. ”
– Mark Melni, Inventor,Melni LLC