Tile, a connected objects startup that’s trying to fix the problem of finding lost property with a Bluetooth tags plus app combo, has raised a massive $2.6 million via its Selfstarter crowdfunding campaign. The funding considerably beefs up the $200,000 Tile gained from being incubated out of Silicon Valley mobile accelerator Tandem Capital. It’s also a massive 130x bump on the $20,000 it was looking to raise on Selfstarter to fund initial production of its connected gizmo.
Tile’s twist is to combine Bluetooth tags which 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.
Initially, of course, that network effect will be limited. But the success of Tile’s Selfstarter campaign is a positive sign for building out a large enough community to start creating a truly useful connected network. Tile’s Selfstarter campaign, which we covered last month, 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.
Commenting on the conclusion of the funding campaign in a statement, Tile co-founder and COO Mike Farley said: “The enormous, positive response we’ve received from everyone during the Selfstarter campaign has been very exciting and encouraging. The Tile community has grown significantly over the past month, and we’re very much looking forward to significantly increasing its reach in the years to come.”
Tile’s Selfstarter also marks a new funding record for Selfstarter, exceeding the record set by the prior most successful campaign on the platform, Lockitron, which raised $2.2 million from more than 14,500 backers.