As the company behind the Lupo app launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise £20k of funding, we caught up with Founder and CEO, Raj Sark, to find out more about the existing technology and what’s in the pipeline.
In one sentence, how would you describe the problem that the Lupo solves?
Everyday thousands of phones, tablets, laptops and other valuables are lost or stolen – Lupo not only helps you recover lost items, but helps prevent their loss in the first place.
How did the idea for the Lupo come about and how long has it been in development?
We have all lost something of value at some point in our lives. The idea for the Lupo first emerged in 2009 when a close friend lost a new phone after a cab journey. At that time, the technology was limited to be able to support something like Lupo, but today, all modern smartphones support app development and have Bluetooth 4.0 hardware. The Lupo App and device work together to find, secure and control your smart devices.
What can users currently do just by having the Lupo App and how does it differ from other Bluetooth finders?
To our knowledge, the current Lupo App is the only one in the market that offers a free finder to help locate iOS devices using Bluetooth 4.0 via an iPhone App. The current Lupo App also integrates beacon technology to find iOS devices, meaning that the devices do not need to be paired together to find each other. And because you do not need the Lupo App to be constantly ‘connected’, unlike some other apps that work with Bluetooth key-finders, the Lupo App leaves a negligible impact on user’s device battery (only 1-1.5% when running in background for 24 hours). When you also factor in the Lupo hardware device that we are currently fundraising for on Kickstarter, then there are many more differentiators that set Lupo apart from the rest, especially the combination of features (finding, securing and controlling in one device) and the inclusion of an SDK to allow developers to build new apps on the platform.
Can you tell us a little more about the start-up awards you’ve won from MIT and Nokia and the impact this has had on the project?
The $4,000 award we received from MIT GSW 2012 helped us cover the cost of the early prototype development. To develop the Lupo hardware we needed labs fitted with expensive wireless testing machines, and this is where the award we received from Nokia was really helpful. For winning the Best Demo award at Startup Weekend Copenhagen Mobility, we were provided with six months of free hosting within Nokia’s incubation space which gave us access to some great labs to work in, and also access to some great people.
You’re looking to raise £20,000 on Kickstarter to fund the project, how’s the support been so far?
We are really happy with the support on Kickstarter so far and are already over 40% funded in our first week. We are looking forward to reaching our goal and getting Lupo into production.
When should users be able to get their hands on the Lupo if you’re successful in getting the funding needed?
Summer 2014. The early-bird backers will get their Lupos in June followed by July and August for the remaining backers.
If you want to find out more about the project, check out the Kickstarter Page for Lupo where you can pledge your support and be one of the first people to get your hands on the Lupo when it launches.