Manufacturing, Small Business & Startups, and Technology

Startup guards iPhones

April 2, 2014
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Startup guards iPhones
Kloqe iPhone cases are designed in four colors: black, white, champagne and gray. Courtesy Kloqe

A startup is developing the iPhone’s “new best friend.”

Kloqe, an all aluminum, reception-friendly iPhone case, received a $5,000 investment last month from Start Garden, the $15 million seed fund in Grand Rapids, after securing $34,873 in pre-orders during a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter this winter.

The product targets iPhone users who want to protect their phone, while preserving its minimalistic and sleek look.

Kloqe adds four millimeters to the height and width of the iPhone and is a simple two-piece design that slides together to lock in place, according to the Kloqe website. It is designed in four colors: black, white, champagne and gray.

Kloqe expects to begin shipping the case this month, according to a tweet by the company.

Kloqe will retail for $99.

Case-less

Sergio Troiani, a sophomore at Grand Valley State University and founder of Kloqe, said he created the product after his disappointment with how cases in the market detract from the aluminum design and feel of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s.

“If I can’t find one anywhere, I will make one,” Troiani said.

Troiani has a patent pending on the design and process used to solve the problem of the aluminum interfering with cell reception: the case keeps the two built-in antennas in the iPhone from bridging using injection moldings.

Production

“My competitors focus on mass production and high margins, which lead to poorly designed iPhone cases that are produced with very cheap materials, such as plastic, silicon or rubber,” Troiani said. “Kloqe is focused on high quality and high precision.”

The name Kloqe is derived from the case’s function: the case cloaks the smartphone to protect it, but the design isn’t overtly noticeable.

Kloqe is made using a computer numerical control, or CNC, machine, and each case takes an average of seven hours to complete.

Plans

The funds from Start Garden will be used in advertising and marketing the product.

Troiani added that with pre-orders in place and conversations with distributors in progress, he’s interested in tapping the Start Garden team and network. 

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