Everykey, a startup company founded by Case Western Reserve University engineering and computer science alumnus Chris Wentz, recently raised over $25,000 in just two days of its Kickstarter campaign. The campaign, launched on Oct. 29, aims to raise $100,000 by its deadline of Nov. 29.
Everykey is a Bluetooth enabled wristband that allows the wearer access to “everything that requires a physical key or password,” automatically unlocking electronically controlled locks or digital devices like phones and computers. With more and more websites requiring login information and passwords, Everykey also doubles as a password keychain, automatically logging wearers into their online accounts when in range of a device. The company promises exceptional personal security, with military-grade encryption for protection against possible hackers.
“Our product removes the stress of forgetting your keys and losing your passwords, while providing even better security than what you have now,” said Wentz on the Kickstarter website. Wentz is the company’s CEO as well as its founder.
Everykey also emphasizes style with its device, which must share arms with fashionable watches and other wristbands. The company claims “fashion as our north star” in its attempts to merge aesthetic form with function.
Everykey originated in an entrepreneurship class at Weatherhead School of Management taught by entrepreneurship and marketing professor Walt Sokira.
“We just started with the software, the programming, the very basics of it,” said Hope Ho, Vice President of Marketing. “Then we started thinking about what we wanted the product to look like, and from that we kept on designing. We started looking at the specs, the functionality, really making the product something that we would want to use.”
Working with other CWRU entrepreneurship resources, including the Blackstone Launchpad, Everykey grew from that idea into a business that now employs more than 25 people. Everykey has seen significant success at various entrepreneurship competitions, coming in second place at an ideaLabs business competition and winning a $25,000 grant from the Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise. Most recently, Everykey reached the final six pitches at the National Blackstone Launchpad Demo Day event.
“Chris has been a client of the CWRU Blackstone LaunchPad almost from the inception of [the program],” said Eugene Sasso, program manager. “We are proud of Chris’ spirit, his perseverance, and his success.”
It took almost two years of development to get Everykey to the point where the team felt ready to start a Kickstarter. Using Kickstarter, a website which allows people to crowdfund creative projects, Everykey hopes to expand and start mass producing their product. Everykey’s campaign had earned $40,109 as of press time.
“People are very drawn to innovative things like this,” said Ho.