Trellie’s first product, a wireless device disguised as a women’s fashion accessory, aims to help keep women better connected. As one of the first six companies ready for funding in Digital Sandbox KC, founders Claude Aldridge and Jason Reid hope the Sandbox will help them do the same.
“Our goal for the sandbox is twofold. First, we want to make connections inside local corporations that will give Trellie the best chance for success,” says Aldridge. These include retail distribution, strategic partnerships, marketing and product development. “Second, Trellie would like to use the Digital Sandbox to ideate, prototype and market validate Trellie 2.0.”
The ultimate goal is to leverage their first product into a company that will revolutionize hardware-based technology solutions for families by creating a range of products for women that help them save time, provide peace of mind and enable better communication with those people they care about most.
A Missed Call, A Bright Idea
Nothing is more frustrating than when you need to reach your mom, wife, daughter, sister, right now—and her cellphone is lost to in the swallowing abyss of a large handbag.
Aldridge and Reid knew the pain of unreachable spouses—and understood the possible implications of missing an important call from your boss, husband, babysitter, aging parents or your kid’s school. Personal pain points aside, they also had a market: 80% of all women carry their phone in their purse and consequently miss more than half of their incoming calls.
In 2012, they created Trellie, a Bluetooth-enabled, patent-pending solution to missing important calls from those who depend on you. Worn as a fashion accessory on the outside of a handbag, Trellie visually notifies the user of an incoming call to a mobile phone through a flashing LED light.
The first prototype for Trellie was funded with the help of Kickstarter, an online crowdfunding platform for creative projects. Aldridge and Reid attracted more than 515 backers, who in turn raised $33,168 for the Kansas City startup, 110 percent of their published goal. A week later, Trellie closed a $500,000 financing round.
“Trellie is a great example of how the Digital Sandbox KC can help local entrepreneurs make meaningful and valuable connections with some of KC’s largest companies,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC. “As Trellie continues to refine and develop new products, the ability to reach for meaningful market data or assistance in product distribution is critical to their rapid growth.”