Is a phone-charging purse really more than a novelty item?
Looking at the trajectory of Everpurse, which started making bags that also function as phone chargers two-and-a-half years ago, the answer might be yes. The startup recently closed a seed round of just under $1 million from SOS Ventures and a mix of angel investors including Peter England, the former CEO of Elizabeth Arden.
With two products on the market — the original bag and a new mini clutch — co-founders Liz and Dan Salcedo say they’re hoping to create a suite of wearable products that address universal pain points in modern life. And clearly investors are convinced that they've got a lead on the future of fashionable tech.
Unlike other phone-charging bags that involve plugging the phone into a charger tucked away in the clutch’s lining and then recharging that with another cable, Everpurse was designed to make juicing up seamless. It does so wirelessly, restoring the phone’s battery at a rate of about one percent every one to two minutes just by placing your phone inside; at the end of the day, the purse itself goes on top of a recharging mat.
The seed round is relatively small for a hardware company, but Everpurse is still a pretty small operation. With six full time employees and two part-timers, it prototypes its products in-house on 3D printers, which allows the company to speed up the professional prototyping process. The team is still working on balancing demand with production: Last holiday season they sold out of purses too quickly and had to stop sales before the final shopping rush. Much of the new funding will go toward patenting Everpurse’s charging technology, says Dan.
Everpurse isn’t stopping at phone charging, either. The team plans to create software applications for the bags, which will be able to do things like track what’s inside of it at any point. If the owner places RFID (radio-frequency identification) stickers on her keys, wallet and lipstick, for instance, the sensors in the bag will then be able to tell when those items are inside and relay that information to the app.
“Your bag is your best friend,” Dan points out. “Through our app, the bag can talk with your phone and say, ‘Hey, you’re missing your keys.’”
There’s also the possibility for multiple bags to talk to each other, Dan says, so that you can tell when you’ve left those keys in your clutch from the night before. Again, it's all about fixing those little pain points in life.
“Further down the line we are thinking about ways to integrate technology into other accessories or clothing,” Dan says.
The Everpurse team has developed a flexible circuit board that would work well in fabrics, meaning it would be possible to apply the same technology to suit jackets or pants pockets. Everpurse has done a nice job making the "tech" part of "wearable tech" not only palatable and non-invasive, but also pretty stylish. So while clothing is a much trickier proposition than a bag, we're looking forward to seeing if and how they pull it off.