From idea to product: TU/e startup Jakx develops smart wardrobe.
The men behind startup Jakx have developed a smart wardrobe to prevent the theft of coats.
Visiting the bars located at Stratumseind as an entrepreneur. That’s what the men behind startup Jakx have been doing for the past weeks. They have developed a smart wardrobe and have conducted market research at Stratumseind, the nightlife district close to Eindhoven University of Technology.
Their findings: the owners of small and medium-sized bars are enthusiastic about the smart wardrobe. It’s a small box with a cable attached to it. Visitors can pull the cable through the sleeve of their coat and click it into the box so it locks. “They pay with their debit card”, Jochem Manders, co-founder of Jackx, explains. “The debit card acts as identification as well. The lock opens when the customer holds his or her card against the box.”
Bar owners can attach the boxes to the walls of their bar, so they have an unmanned wardrobe. “That’s why this is interesting for medium-sized bars”, Manders says. Large bars often have a wardrobe in place they are satisfied with. But a big group of potential customers remains. The students also looked at theaters as potential clients. “As people want to obtain their coats quickly after a performance we saw a potential target group there. But the theaters were less suitable like to address their visitors in a personal way, with personal service.” That’s why Jakx focuses on bars for now.
“Coats that are being stolen in bars is a problem many people can relate to”, Manders says. But it remains quite challenging to convince bar owners of the system. “Because they are not the end-users, but the visitors are.” That’s why Jakx came up with a model in which bar owners don’t have to make big investments to acquire the system. “The idea is to hang up the boxes for a low prize or even for free. The revenue we will share with the bars”, Manders says. “We expect some commitment of the bars, but they will earn money instantly. This way we also break-even on our investment.” To see of people will actually make use of the system, Jakx is going to run several pilots. “We do need some marketing to bring the system under the attention of bar owners and visitors.”
The bar is where it all started. The first sketches were made on the back of a beer mat. “Our coats were being stolen once again”, Manders tells. Two-and-a-half-years down the line the four TU/e students have set-up their business. They joined the community of TU/e innovation Space. “We are placed together with several entrepreneurs. Others help us with their gained knowledge and vice versa.”
Jakx also took part in the Golden Lightbulb Challenge. “We came into contact with several people who could help us with our idea. We were already working for quite some time on the product and the way to market. By means of the Golden Lightbulb workshops, we took another critical look at our business plan. Moreover, we had a set deadline. We aimed to have a prototype ready for the finals and we succeeded.”
With the prototype in place, they are one step closer to market. “We have the possibility to run a number of pilots”, Manders says. But before that happens, some adjustments to the system have to be made. “A pilot is only interesting if every detail is in place. At the moment we are working hard to achieve this. Moreover, the system needs to be completely idiot proof when it’s available in the bars. “The product development is still a work in progress and the product keeps on growing. It would be great if it will be available in bars soon.”
Source: Linda Bak, Innovation Origins