You’ve locked yourself out of your apartment – again. You pull out your phone, find a locksmith, make the call, wait forever for the guy to show up. Door’s open, you’re in – but you’re also out a couple hundred bucks .
In case you missed the memo, the ‘90s are over. KeyMe is here and the company just raised $7.8M to grow and expand their key-duplication platform. With KeyMe, you scan your keys with your smartphone, and get perfect duplicates in the mail. Or if you’re locked out, you head to the nearest KeyMe kiosk at 7-Eleven®, Bed Bath & Beyond®, or RiteAid® store and print out a fresh set of keys, since you (luckily) remembered to scan them into the KeyMe app. You can even go to a locksmith, show them your key scan (which includes instructions) and you’re in back in business – and your home.
Founder/CEO – and key man – Greg Marsh is here to tell us about the latest round of funding, which, as every entrepreneur knows, is tantamount to gaining the keys to the kingdom.
Tell us about your product.
KeyMe is making it easy to copy keys and solve lockouts. Just scan your key using our free mobile app and we’ll send you perfect copies in the mail. We also let you back-up your key digitally. If you ever get locked out you can get a physical spare by using one of our kiosks (in 7-Eleven, Bed Bath & Beyond, RiteAid) or by displaying instruction on your phone which a regular locksmith can use to make your key from scratch.
How is it different?
The idea of digitally backing up physical keys has never been done before. It took a completely novel business plan and technology to make it work. We’ve been very fortunate that customer reception has been incredible.
We are targeting the$5B/yr locksmith industry. It’s big, fragmented, characterized by poor service, and hasn’t seen innovation in my lifetime. KeyMe is changing all of that by delivering convenience and value into the space.
How many times have you lost your keys?
I’m pretty good about holding on to my keys, but my wife gets locked out pretty frequently. She used to wait around for an hour and pay a few hundred bucks for a locksmith to break her lock. That struck me as a fairly inefficient process and it got me thinking about how to create a better solution to a pervasive problem.
What’s your business model?
We’re in a unique position because we are leaders on both quality of service and price, which is rare. Getting keys from us is faster, cheaper, and is a better overall experience than any alternative. Particularly when someone is locked out and we save their day – they go nuts for us. Our team gets really excited when a good lockout story comes in.
Tell us one of your favorite stories.
Last week, a woman called us from the airport. She was about to get on a flight to Africa and had forgotten to leave a key for her dog walker. She called us hysterical, believing her pet’s health was in jeopardy. We had her scan her key at the airport and share it with the dog walker, who then went to a KeyMe kiosk and printed a copy. Problem solved. She was pretty pumped.
What was the funding process like?
Raising money is hard. Creating introductions to quality investors and then nailing your pitch is crucial. We have been extremely fortunate to partner with terrific backers, including Battery Ventures, White Star Capital, 7-Eleven, and awesome angels like Ravin Gandhi, Amol Sarva, and Jens Molbak.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The locksmith industry isn’t something that VC’s wake up thinking about. Getting them excited about a space that’s fairly foreign requires a strong and clearly articulated vision.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
It’s a really multifaceted process. If I had to single two things out, first is your team. The people you surround yourself with will dictate your success more than anything else. Second is connecting the dots between what you’ve proved so far and what you need to prove to become really huge.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We are going to push our product innovation further, expand our team with more amazing talent, and fundamentally change the way millions of people make and manage their keys. While we scale, the KeyMe team will continue to be laser focused on one thing — delivering a great service to our customers.
What advice can you offer companies in New York who do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Work hard. Try to create a network of seasoned entrepreneurs to help you. Believe in yourself.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Our vision is pretty simple – we want to become the global leader in the locksmith industry. If you need keys or get locked out, we want to be the service that helps you.