Written by Robert Leitch.
In just a few weeks, millions of consumers will be buzzing about the new Apple Watch as it joins the ranks of popular wearables like Jawbone, FitBit and Pebble. These devices are designed to provide the wearer with a multitude of information about daily activities – everything from their workout regiments to their heart rates. Cincinnati, Ohio startup Strap takes this type of wearable data and organizes it for companies, allowing them to build targeted marketing efforts that appeal to customers.
Here’s how it works: if a major retailer wants its customers to live a more active lifestyle, they can use Strap to track data from consumers’ fitness devices and use that information to send coupons when they reach important healthy milestones. It’s a win for companies and consumers alike.
“The data that comes from wearables is measured from built-in sensors,” said Steve Caldwell, founder and CEO of Strap. “It makes it very easy for wearable users to share useful information with very little effort.”
Caldwell chose to come to Ohio from Mississippi in 2014 after Strap was accepted into The Brandery accelerator, which provided the company with its initial funding. He cites The Brandery’s network and mentorship opportunities as major selling points for his team.
“We were accepted at both The Brandery and another accelerator in Pittsburgh, so we had to make a choice,” said Caldwell. “The decision to come to Cincinnati was key. Our network since starting at The Brandery has expanded 1,000 times. The mentorship we received helped us fully develop our product, expand it and make it relevant to consumers.”
After graduating from the accelerator program, Strap secured a seed round of funding totaling $1.25 million. Funding came from CincyTech, the regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier, along with other sources across the country. The company, which started with Caldwell, COO Patrick Henshaw, and Creative Director Joey Brennan, is up to nine employees with hopes of growing more in the coming months. The plan is to hire more engineering and sales professionals, and as the company grows, Strap is committed to keeping their headquarters in Cincinnati.
“As someone who is not from Ohio, I have to admit that it was not on my radar as a tech hub,” said Caldwell. “But there is a great support system here. Our money goes a lot further and we have just as strong of a network here as we would on the coasts.”
Caldwell predicts that over the next few years, wearable tech will see an explosion of consumer hardware and software, and that its use has the potential to expand beyond marketing data to connect all aspects of a person’s life. It’s possible that one day soon you could go for a run with a wearable, and by the time you get home, your thermostat has adjusted itself to make you comfortable.
“The true value of wearables is yet to be seen,” said Caldwell “There were 60 or 70 wearable booths at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) alone. Our goal is to support the full spectrum of wearables and use the data from these devices in a way that benefits consumers.”