Tile, a connected objects startup that’s trying to fix the problem of finding lost property has raised a massive $2.6 million via its Selfstarter crowdfunding campaign.
The startup which was incubated out of Silicon Valley mobile accelerator Tandem Capital, uses Tiles – bluetooth low energy tags designed for attaching to valuable items so that these real-world objects like wallets, bikes, suitcases etc can be traced if they go missing.
Users attach to their valuable objects with the power of a community of app users. Its vision is ultimately for each individual Tile user to benefit from a distributed network effect as other users’ smartphones can be used to trace their lost items. Each Tile app is capable of picking up the location of any Tile, regardless of its owner, if the phone passes close enough to the lost Tile — which means that once a Tile is marked as lost, the whole network is alerted to be on the hunt for it. Should another Tile user then pass within range of the lost item their smartphone will (privately) record its location and send a background notification to the owner of that Tile.
Tile’s Selfstarter campaign, ran for 34 days and gained close to 50,000 backers — all apparently seeking a reliable way to retrieve lost valuables.
Tile’s units are due to begin shipping in Winter 2013/2014. In the meantime Tile is still taking orders for the matchbook-sized, $25-a-piece tags via its website.