All entrepreneurs need inspiration to innovate, and for Ira Hayes, co-founder and COO of Smart Armor Tech, that inspiration came from the need to save a life. After a friend suffered serious complications from forgetting to take his heart medication, Hayes, wanted to make sure it would never happen again. He went to work, creating a secure pill box that would unlock when it was time to take the medication inside.
Enter Smart Cube
What started out as a favor to a friend soon had Hayes and his Smart Armor Tech cohorts — CEO Justin Zastrow and CTO Bill Birgen — developing their first product.
The three make an impressive team – Hayes has a rich background that includes an aeronautical engineering degree from the United States Air Force Academy. Birgen recently worked as a principle systems engineer to what will be the world’s largest aircraft, the Stratolaunch. Zastrow is a master of business development with diverse experience in concept creation, software integration and corporate execution. It is no surprise that the product they created to protect the things that matter — Smart Cube — is anything but ordinary.
Simply put, Smart Cube is a tiny, portable bluetooth locking device designed to make life safer and more secure. It can lock almost anything that closes, turning smartphones into keys that can secure, track and monitor from virtually anywhere.
The team launched Smart Cube in hopes of validating consumer interest, creating global awareness and raising funds for manufacturing and advertising needs. Little did they know, launching that campaign would change their entrepreneurial future.
Finding support, from manufacturing to distribution
To take their product development a step further, Zastrow, Hayes and Birgen joined the Arrow Certification Program. As an Arrow Certified campaign, the team behind Smart Cube has reaped many benefits, especially regarding manufacturing and distribution. Arrow helped Smart Cube with support ranging from guidance on selecting a contract manufacturer to warehousing and logistics solutions, utilizing the Arrow distribution center in Reno.
“Arrow Electronics had a huge impact on our campaign,” said Zastrow. From helping with product design to fulfillment logistics and even expanding Smart Cube’s features, Arrow has been there to help Smart Armor every step of the way. According to the team, their partnership with Arrow has also alleviated backer fears regarding product quality and execution.
But it doesn’t end there. According to Zastrow, the Smart Cube campaign benefitted greatly from marketing help and campaign strategy support from Indiegogo, which they received as a result of their certification within the program.
What’s next for Smart Cube?
Three years after inspiration hit, Smart Armor has pre-sold nearly 15,000 Smart Cube devices to backers in 90 countries, raising nearly half a million dollars on Indiegogo. According to the Smart Armor team, knowing their invention is helping keep people safe and their belongings protected has led them down a very purposeful path.
With the funding stage of their campaign completed, Smart Armor is maximizing their Arrow partnership as they enter the manufacturing and shipping phase. “Our relationship with them has also opened many doors for us when it comes to wholesale and retail opportunities once we begin shipping,” explained Zastrow.
As Smart Armor continues to grow their business, Arrow will continue to be a valuable asset — especially as they work to advance Smart Cube and develop new products to better people’s lives.
Need a boost turning your idea into our next success story? Join the Arrow Certification Program and see how Arrow can help you take your campaign to the next level. Arrow will be giving away $75,000 in flash funds in the month of March. In order to qualify for a chance to win, you will need to sign up for the Arrow Certification Program and get certified by Arrow. Learn how to become eligible for $75,000 in funds from Arrow today.