Written by Barb Consiglio.
The average person has more than six passwords for all of the websites they access. It’s a lot to remember, especially when you have to change passwords for security reasons or because you’ve simply forgotten them. Needless to say, it can be a challenge to keep passwords straight. Everykey in Cleveland, Ohio, has created a way to prevent password confusion from ever happening again — all by using a Bluetooth device smaller than a flash drive.
Everykey replaces keys and passwords, enabling users to automatically unlock their devices, doors, vehicles and password-protected websites when they are in close proximity. This applies to both personal electronic devices and cars and homes with premium Bluetooth-enabled locks. Once a user walks away, whatever was unlocked will lock again. The device also acts as a password manager for websites that users log in to frequently. When you pull up a website account, Everykey will automatically input your login credentials.
“When we created Everykey, our goal was to make password and key management a lot simpler. It’s essentially become a universal key,” said Chris Wentz, co-founder and CEO of Everykey. “Once you have Everykey, you can download our app to pair it to your devices, manage your range settings and download software updates to keep it as secure as possible.”
Wentz says his company uses military-grade security, and allows users to instantly disable their Everykey if they lose it, preventing possible theft.
“Passwords are never stored directly on the Everykey device. When Everykey is used to unlock something, it does so through a new encrypted Bluetooth message,” said Wentz. “Even if you’re logging into the same site over and over again, it’s a different encrypted message that contains the same password each time. That prevents hackers from breaking into your device.”
Wentz developed the idea for Everykey in an entrepreneurship class at Case Western Reserve University. He and his co-founders got frustrated locking themselves out of their dorm room and forgetting their online passwords, so they created a company to solve the problem.
Everykey received funding from the Great Lakes Innovation & Development Enterprise (GLIDE), a northeast Ohio partner of Ohio Third Frontier, which helped them refine their concept, create a prototype and work with manufacturers to produce the devices on a large scale. They began shipping their product in March 2016 and are working on marketing and advertising plans to expand sales.
The company has grown to 12 full-time employees and plans to double its workforce in the next six months. Wentz says the workforce and entrepreneurial organizations in Cleveland are making this growth possible.
Everykey circuit boards are made in Solon, Ohio, with band accessories made in Kent, Ohio. Wentz says having manufacturers to produce the device locally has been a major asset.
“Our goal is to make as much of this product in northeast Ohio as possible. We’re able to do that because people here are open minded and eager to help new businesses,” said Wentz. “Because of the solid foundation we’re building in this corner of the state, we can look to the future and sell our devices worldwide.”