How did we come up with the idea for Spotty? Simple enough: We once lost our house keys the same day we were due to depart on holiday. Our luggage and plane tickets were still in the house, and the clock was ticking. We’ve never been able to track down our house keys, and we called a lot of places that told us they hadn’t been handed into them. It’s highly likely that someone did find them and handed them in somewhere … but where? We then had to pay a locksmith at Sunday rates to open the house lock with a drill. We knew there was clearly room for improvement.
Since then, we’ve learned three things:
- You don’t need your lost keys back some day, but rather the same day, and before the expenses begin accumulating.
- When you’ve lost something, you basically have no idea where to look for it; even more so if you’ve been traveling widely that day.
- Replacing locks is expensive. In the end, we managed to catch our plane, but the whole thing had cost 200 euros (locksmith and new lock) – and a lot of stress. By the way, modern car keys are even more expensive.
Marking your keys with your name or contact details is a bad idea, of course. If they get stolen, thieves will immediately know the right house to burgle (it’s not a good idea for luggage either).
Solutions from the past
Our search for a solution brought us to keytags with a service to deliver keys back to you in the event of a loss. When someone finds your keys, they can simply drop them in a mailbox or notify a service, and you’ll find them in your home letterbox a few days later. Nice, but you want your keys back immediately. When you’re standing outside your house one evening and you need to call the locksmith anyway, it doesn’t help much when you get your keys back the next day.
What if you lose your keys abroad? You need them back where you are, not when you get back home.
What do we need, then? Well, to summarize, we need a solution that
- allows you to label your keys (and other items) anonymously.
- enables every finder who owns a computer to contact you directly, without intermediaries and without needing to make any trips.
- enables any finder owning a smartphone (>50% of sold phones) to scan your keys immediately on the spot where they’re found (simply by scanning a QR code from the keys).
- doesn’t generate communication costs to the finder.
- encourages the finder further by offering a reward.
- supports the languages of most popular holiday destinations (including Spanish, Italian, Turkish by the end of 2013) so as not to frighten off foreign-speaking finders.
With Spotty, you get all that
That’s how we got the idea for Spotty. At the time of our key loss, QR codes didn’t exist yet. But today, with a built-in scanner in our smartphones and the rest of the population owning at least one computer, the Spotty service fulfils all of the above requirements.
With a Spotty sticker of approximately €1 or a €2 keyplate, you can protect your keys worth 200 euros or more, and your smartphone, tablet, etc.Click here for many more examples.