MyStuffID sorts through possibilities to market technology
Kevin Murray and Kyle Collinsworth know that people want their stuff returned to them after it’s lost.
And they figure that most people are honest.
The young Reno-based company they’ve built to capitalize on those two truths, however, still is searching for the best channel to bring its product to market.
MyStuffID’s approach is straightforward:
Subscribers pay $30 a year to register their belongings everything from sets of keys to cameras to sunglasses at an online site and place stickers that carry unique identification numbers on the items they want to protect.
If a subscriber loses a set of keys, for example, the person who finds them calls a toll-free number or connects with the company’s loss center through MyStuffID.com.
The loss center makes arrangements for the subscriber and the finder to get together, and the finder gets a reward at the bare minimum, a one-year subscription to MyStuffID, although subscribers can offer more.
“This company was founded on the principal that people are good,” says Murray, who spent two decades in the financial services industry before launching MyStuffID last year.
But the company has struggled to find the best way to allow people to exercise their goodness.
“We thought early on that we had the target market figured out,” says Collinsworth, who previously worked in real estate development. “But it’s changed a dozen times.”
A potentially big market, the company’s founders know, exists in sales of MyStuffID as an add-on when consumers buy a big-ticket item such as a camera or easily misplaced electronic items such as a cell phone.
Gordon’s Photo Service, a northern Nevada retailer, was among the first on board with MyStuffID. Western Nevada Supply sells the service along with expensive tools. The ASUN Bookstore at the University of Nevada, Reno, sells it to students who are toting computers and other expensive electronics around the campus.
Now Murray and Collinsworth are working hard to develop relationships with big retailers, maybe through co-branding efforts that allow the retailers to place their own logo on the identifying stickers.
But other markets beckon as well.
Given the cost of replacing modern-day car keys with their electronic chips, MyStuffID is beginning to sell through auto dealerships.
Another possibility: Travel agencies, which can buy the service at a wholesale price of about $10 and provide it as a gift to good customers who can use MyStuffID luggage tags that don’t carry the travelers’ names.
And the company’s founders think they can meet the $19.95 price point that’s a sweet spot for direct-to-consumer sales.
“We are an infomercial waiting to be born,” says Collinsworth.
The technological backbone of MyStuffID is licensed from Argus Holdings LLC. Argus, based in Reno and Palo Alto, helped develop the system used by AlertID, a Reno company that provides identification systems to protect children as well as an online neighborhood crime-watch.
“They built the highway,” says Murray. “Why not put more cars on it?”
Collinsworth and Murray have worked hard to use as many northern Nevada suppliers as possible as they’ve created MyStuffID. The loss-center service, for example, is contracted to AnswerWest Inc. of Reno.
The founders of MyStuffID started conceptualizing the company in the autumn of 2010 after Murray was thinking about the problem of lost keys.
By early this year, they had the product ready for the market.
The unanimous approvals Wednesday came despite state leaders promising to tighten up requirements for Nevada’s tax abatements and incentives for future companies.