KisiBox, the developer of a smartphone-powered key, takes top honors in city competition
Gerrman startup wins NYC contest aimed at luring and keeping tech entrepreneurs
Three young entrepreneurs from Munich, Germany could become New York City's next tech darlings after creating a smartphone-powered virtual key.
KisiBox, the brainchild of Max Schuetz, 26, Bernhard Mehl, 27, and Carl Pfeiffer, 25, beat more than 220 entries from 40 countries around the world in the NYC Next Idea competition.
The contest, sponsored by the New York City Economic Development Corp. in partnership with the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University, offers a cash prize of $35,000.
"The goals are to help promising startups establish themselves or continue to grow here in New York City," Ann Li, an executive vice president here at NYCEDC, told the Daily News.
KisiBox, a "personal doorman," allows users to access their homes via their mobile device by simply pressing a button from anywhere in the world.
While comparable technology already exists, KisiBox brings something new to the table: users can share those virtual keys with others for however long they like.
No longer want your boyfriend to have access to your apartment? KisiBox lets you cut him off.
The security system is expected to sell for $329. There is no timetable for KisiBox' launch, which will hinge on the company's success in securing funding, Schuetz said.
In the meantime, KisiBox is now considering taking root in the city. "The advantages are the diversity, the entrepreneurship network, and the accessibility to financing," Schuetz said.
The contest is part of Mayor Bloomberg's larger efforts to promote the city's fast growing tech economy. The mayor is calling for an overhaul of the country's immigration laws to help lure and retain foreign entrepreneurs like Schuetz.