Startup: Key That Unlocks Nothing

By Brian Rhodes, Published Mar 20, 2014, 12:00am EDT

It's called a Quickey, but it unlocks no doors. Think that's crazy? Wait until you discover how people are going wild for it in its first few day since launch.

Quickey claims it will keep you secure by protecting your keys from damage.  How and why is this product a crowdsourcing success, and has this silly product benefited from the best way to develop a new security product? We take a look in this note.

Product Overview

Traditional metal keys get abused. They frequently become ad-hoc box openers, pry bars, screw drivers, and other countless applications that potentially damage them from their primary use: opening locks and unlocking doors.  Even slight warping or bending of a key can leave it useless, or worse - can damage a lock when tried again.

Rather than risk this damage, why not carry a multitool better suited (and less risky to use) for the job? Catch Quickey's promo video below:

Esentially Quickey combines simple handtools like a screwdriver, opener (scoring point), serrated cutter, and hipster-friendly bottle opener into a tool about the size of a brass door key. The $9 steel tool is designed to be kept on your regular keyring, and lacks the bulk, sharp edges, or moving parts found in a traditional multi-tool.

Unlikely Success?

Call it silly, but Quickey has far exceeded it's fundraising goal mere days after opening. While aiming to raise a modest $4000, Quickey is on pace to raise more than $200,000 before the campaign ends. One thing is certain: Quickey is a winning idea in the eyes of many.

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Breakdown

Exaustive analysis is not needed when examining Quickey: 

PROS
  • Prevents Key Damage: With the tool's small size and keyring portability, it offers a more useful alternative than misusing a valuable door key in duties like opening clamshell packaging, tightening screws, or even stripping cable jackets.
  • Airplane (TSA) Safe: The company claims Quickey meets all the 'safe travel' requirements of carry on items for US airports.  Quickey is not a knife, lacks pointy edges, and has an overall length well under the permitted length of pocket knives.

CONS

  • $9 Pricetag: While Quickey is inexpensive, it cannot be considered 'disposable cheap'. In an age where a full set of screwdrivers or box knife can be had for less than $3, this multitool carries a premium pricetag for it's portability.
  • Bested by Pocketknives: Where travel restrictions prohibit handtools, or where they are uncommonly needed, Quickeys make sense. However, even a youth-model Swiss Army knife can do everything a Quickey claims and better for less than 5 more dollars.  When restrictions for carrying those tools do not exist, more useful alternatives can be cheaply purchased and carried.

Power of Crowdsourcing

When it comes to capital, one thing is certain: good ideas (even silly ideas) can find cash. Gone are the days of conglomerates stifling innovative designs due to lack of vision. In the 'crowdsourcing age', a solid idea backed by good articulation can find major money. 

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