Our Investment in TrackR Helps You Find All of Your Things
by Brad Feld
We are pleased to announce we led an $8.7 million investment in TrackR. Based in Santa Barbara, CA, TrackR has a series of products to help you locate all the physical things you own.
As mobile phones and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) become ubiquitous, each of us is now carrying around a GPS-enabled supercomputer in our pocket. While many more physical products are becoming connected with the Internet, the vast majority of things we own don’t have an Internet connection. As a result, they are effectively “off the grid.”
TrackR has created a set of small, low cost physical products that can be used to track these non-connected items, such as your wallet, keys, phone, pet, bike, luggage, and – well – anything you want to keep track of. The first TrackR products are the size of a quarter and contain hardware that includes a BLE connection and a replaceable battery that lasts up to a year. The TrackR can be fastened or stuck to any device and subsequently uniquely identifies it going forward.
The TrackR connects, via your mobile phone, to upload its location using the GPS location of the phone. Since TrackR uses BLE, it can run in the background and constantly update the location of any item with a TrackR that you are in BLE range of. This works for TrackRs that are registered to you as well as any other TrackRs in the wild.
The magic of this is that with enough TrackRs in the world, the company can create a “CrowdGPS” piggybacking off the mobile phones out in the world. Once TrackR’s software is installed on a critical mass of phones in a geography there is GPS location coverage in “almost real-time” for every TrackR in that geography. So, if someone steals your bike and is riding it around, any mobile phone that has the TrackR software on it will connect as the bike thief rides by you, transmit the GPS coordinates, which you’ll then see on your mobile phone.
TrackR is also releasing an in-home product that you install in each room. Then, in addition to knowing where something is out in the world, you’ll also know where it specifically is in your house, down to the room. No more lost keys as you are rushing out to dinner.
TrackR was started several years ago by friends and first time entrepreneurs, Chris Herbert and Christian Smith, after they graduated from UCSB. We are excited to go on their journey with them.