At a time when form, function, and technology have come together to propel personal convergent products to the forefront of consumerism, metal keys, key fobs, and the whole slew of items attached to keychains represent one of the last bastions of personal clutter. Most personal devices are getting smaller, lighter, faster, and stronger while keychains, key fobs, and remote alarms are becoming increasingly unwieldy. Recognizing this paradox, Keyport, Inc. has developed a product suite that addresses the ongoing need for the organization, access, transport, and storage of keys and other personal items (e.g. flash drive, mini-flashlight, RFID access fob, bottle opener, etc.) that we typically cram onto an overstuffed keychain.
Founded in 2005, Keyport Inc. is dedicated to creating a more compact, convenient, and stylish alternative to the traditional keychain. Keyport's introductory offering, the Keyport Slide V.01, streamlines the most important everyday personal items we carry and consolidates them into a device that allows the user to access any one with just the slide of a thumb. The Keyport infuses this traditionally utilitarian function with the opportunity to display one's personal style. Keyport is a privately-held Nevada corporation.
Keyport's origins began when Founder and Chief Product Designer, Josh Downes, set out to create a more practical alternative to his bulky keychain. An avid motorcyclist, Josh could never leave his motorcycle key attached to his keychain or the keys would flail around noisily in the wind and scratch the bike's handlebars. Therefore, he either had to keep it separate from his other keys or he had to take it off the keychain each time he went for a ride, and neither option seemed like a good solution. In addition , h e was constantly rearranging his keychain to minimize the number of keys he had to carry on a daily basis. Then Josh had an epiphany - the blade end of the key is all that is needed. By removing the head of the key, Josh envisioned that he could create a compact device that carried all his keys and fit comfortably in his pocket, but that did not jingle or stab him in the leg. After several design iterations, the very first Keyport was born.
Envisioning the Keyport not only as a solution for motorcycle enthusiasts, but for anyone who is interested in consolidating and organizing their keychain packed with various keys and other personal items of different shapes and sizes, Josh decided to postpone his architecture career and pursue his entrepreneurial dream. Josh relocated from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in '05 to begin working on Keyport full time.
From the outset, Josh had several design and engineering parameters that were essential criteria for building the ultimate keychain alternative:
• Make it house numerous keys using a one-size-fits-all head
• Make it as small as possible
• Make it durable
• Make it lightweight
• No rattle
• Make it easier to replace keys than with a traditional keychain
• Make it expandable so that other items besides keys could be incorporated
Josh hired several consultants along the way but struggled to create a universal solution for the tens of thousands of different keys in the world. He was told his size constraints defied manufacturing tolerances as he rejected design after design to minimize size, decrease rattle, and improve aesthestics.
However, through perserverence and passion, Josh finalized the design for an all-metal, high-end Keyport and started selling the Limited Edition Keyport Slide in December '08. While orders came in from all over the world, the operational challenges of customizing the various keys and fulfilling orders were causing a backlog.
Researching a similar concept for creating a better keychain alternative and having read about Keyport online, the company's now President, David Cooper, contacted Josh to explore opportunities to work together. He jumped a flight from his home in Boston, and within a week, David had joined Keyport to spearhead operations. Together, they formalized the company's mission to replace the traditional keychain and to pioneer a new product category - the universal access device - which not only consolidates keys, but also incorporates other personal items that we carry with us everyday - flash drive, LED, bottle opener, etc. - into a single indispensable gadget.
With a growing backlog of orders, Josh and David made the difficult decision to refund all those with outstanding orders and promised to send them their Keyports as soon as they were ready, allowing customers to pay whatever they wanted after receiving the product. Then with a renewed sense of purpose, Josh and David went back to the drawing board and redesigned the Keyport from nose to end cap to be lighter, more affordable, and easier to manufacture while maintaining the highest quality standards that the Limited Edition Slide espoused.
Keyport released the Keyport Slide V.01 in April '10 with a price point at less than one third of the original while significantly reducing fulfillment times and dramatically improving customer service, now a hallmark of the company. Those who had placed a previous order and been refunded were sent their Keyports and encouraged to pay whatever they wanted for them. The feedback was extremely positive and several of those customers actually paid more than the suggested retail price.
Along with a very talented and hardworking team, Josh and David continue to work together to fulfill the company's mission of replacing traditional keychains with more comfortable, accessible, and stylish access solutions for the modern lifestyle.