Alumnus takes hands-off approach to venture

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Connor Renton, BA’19 (Social Science), sees that you don’t think twice about the surfaces you touch. Door handles. ATM buttons. Keypads.

Those observations inspired Renton and his two younger siblings to launch Touché, a company that manufactures and sells a no-touch antimicrobial tool that limits contact with contaminated or shared surfaces.

“We’re all living together, all in quarantine in the house, we’re back from school and trying to find ways to occupy the time,” said Renton, who along with sister Sophie and brother Josh, got the business up and running in three weeks.

“We grew tired of always reminding ourselves not to be touching certain surfaces when we did have to go out. We had always talked about going in on a venture together and felt we had the time, and the idea, to make it work.”

Entrepreneurial at heart, Renton has created other businesses in the past. He and his brother even run a basketball league in Oakville. With that cancelled, it created a stronger push for the family to “find an outlet for us to keep ourselves busy.”

“Sure, there were some bumps along the way, and some sleepless nights at the beginning, but even that has brought us closer together,” said Renton, who works full-time at TD Bank. “It’s a huge learning experience for each of us.”

As daily life slowly returns to a new normal, many precautions are being taken, such as wearing gloves and facemasks, out of concerns for spreading the virus. Renton hopes his product adds an extra layer of assuredness many folks are seeking as communities begin to exit the COVID-19 isolation.

Cast from naturally antimicrobial copper and nickel that kill germs within an hour of first contact, the “elegantly and ergonomically designed” tool offers an alternative to gloves for daily chores.

Renton is already beginning to see the device’s popularity take hold with sales increasing each week, including some from as far away as Finland.

Available at the Art Gallery of Ontario and Amazon (Canada and the United States), the siblings have also had conversations with a number of large retailers and grocery stores across Canada, Renton added.

With each sale made on their website, the company donates $1 to Food Bank Canada’s COVID-19 Response, which provides funds to more than 500 food banks across the country.

“With a dollar from each sale going to Food Banks Canada, it becomes more than just a fun and great experience for us, it’s also for a good cause,” Renton said. “At the end of the day, that’s what keeps us motivated and driving forward.”