Startup Spotlight: Turtlecell

After months of planning, a kickstarter campaign, and a deal with a local contract manufacturer, this collaboration between students at MSU and UofM has taken root. The result is Turtlecell – a newly designed case for your phone that ensures you never have to struggle with tangled, broken, or obnoxious headphones ever again. And, starting…

turtle-cell-phone-case

After months of planning, a kickstarter campaign, and a deal with a local contract manufacturer, this collaboration between students at MSU and UofM has taken root.

The result is Turtlecell – a newly designed case for your phone that ensures you never have to struggle with tangled, broken, or obnoxious headphones ever again. And, starting today, you can preorder your own case.

The case will be available in black, grey, aqua, and red.

Founders:

Jeremy Lindlbauer- Director of Sales and Marketing
Paul Schrems- Director of Product Development
Nick Turnbull – Director of Business Development

Where the idea came from:

Team member Paul had a case that would charge his phone but he also had constantly tangled headphones. So, they formulated a team that would put headphones in the spot that the battery was in. While working on the project, it was clear Paul needed marketing and business development help, and that was when Nick and Jeremy stepped in to complete the team. Jeremy says, “It’s one of the first true examples of a Michigan/Michigan State collaboration.”

Problem they are trying to solve:

The guys at TurtleCell know how frustrated people can get with headphones that are constantly tangling, breaking, or getting lost. And the more headphones that get lost or broken means the more money spent on buying new ones. TurtleCell offers a solution.

Target customer:

While they originally assumed they would be selling to students and young professionals, TurtleCell soon found out that just about anyone can relate to the problem of tangled headphones. They are really trying to hone in on their true target market but so far it’s been very broad; broader than they thought it would be.

Biggest Challenge:

One of their biggest issues has simply been a structural challenge. They’ve found it difficult to keep the case thin and offer the quality sound that people expect.

But they’ve been able to overcome this challenge and achieve both a small size and great sound by having a continuous chord solution, and by getting their headphones from a supplier who produced headphones for Beats.

Surprises:

The guys at TurtleCell were surprised to find out how much people love to be involved and get their opinions out there. They love to feel like they are influencing decisions regarding something they could potentially purchase. The guys have been very interested to to see what people really want.

Funding:

TurtleCell has won a handful of pitch competitions which has helped with funding. They placed first in a competition focused on engineering issues and in the top ten in Accelerate Michigan in Detroit. The pitch competitions allowed them to show people what they had and also led to an article in Detroit Crains Business which helped them get visibility and investments.

The future:

In the here and now TurtleCell is focusing on the phone case case but the future holds many more products. Next would be the case for the iPhone 6 which will have not only headphones but a battery as well.

Their goal is to change the perception of cases and make smart cases for smart phones. Anything you need can be built in and in 5 years they feel you should be able to customize your own case with what’s important to you.

Advice:

For students working on a campus, Jeremy’s advice is to make sure you take advantage of the professors, “Your professors are always looking to help and they get excited when students are making things happen.”

Also, use the resources offered through the state, “Michigan is really working to invest in innovation.”

And, “Being willing to give up equity to find good people to help you is sometimes crucial to moving forward and earning respect.”

Extras:

TurtleCell is really trying to embrace the youth of the company and produce media that is appealing to young people. “We are looking to engage with enthusiasts that will get most out of it (the product), and we have big plans to connect with consumers.

Connect:

To pre-order your case, find them on the web

Connect with them on Facebook for pictures of the product and for fun “Turtle Facts”

Follow them on Twitter

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