Thursday, August 28, 2014

Findster’s GPS tracker locates missing kids or pets, with no monthly fee.

There are a number of gadgets, both new and old, that allow parents to geo-locate their children – or let puppy parents track down a wandering Fido – but many of these either fall short of the task at hand by relying on Bluetooth alone, or require a monthly fee, like the FiLIP smartwatch for kids or the Amber Alert GPS, for instance. A new gadget now in the works called Findster differentiates itself through the use of proprietary RF technology, which allows for a longer range than Bluetooth, as well as no monthly fees.

The Findster team, based in Portugal, includes founders Virgílio Bento, David Barroso, Paulo Fonseca, André Ferreira, Márcio Colunas and David Dieteren, whose background includes a mix of experience in hardware, software, and design.

Not a parent himself, Bento admits that the idea for Findster came to him after he went looking for an affordable GPS tracker for his dog, who would sometimes become lost. But he was disappointed that most of the better GPS trackers required a monthly fee – which was hard to swallow given that the gadget wasn’t something he would need, except on a handful of occasions.
After deciding to tackle the problem himself along with the Findster team, Bento realized that there was a bigger need than just hunting down missing pets.

“People with kids told us, that is perfect for my kids. And we thought, okay, maybe we have a different segment here that’s important to acknowledge,” he says of the device’s transition in the far more crowded, and potentially more profitable, “kid tracker” space.

The founders began work on the device last year, and raised $67,000 during a prior crowdfunding campaign whose goal was $50,000. They’ve now just opened up an extension to that campaign to allow additional backers to get in. With still nearly a month left to go, Findster has raised over $11,000 so far on the new campaign.

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