Imagine never losing anything you care about ever again: your keys, your wallet, your favorite leather jacket.
Imagine tapping into a large group of strangers to help you track down a stolen bike.
After months of hype, a company called Tile has this week started shipping a device that can help you do just that. (You can buy Tiles here.)
Just attach the $25 device to an object, and your smartphone will find it for you, up to a range of 50 to 150 feet.
It's not the first such gadget. But what makes this one different is that it's also a social network of sorts.
If your lost jacket isn't in some mysterious corner of your home, you can ask all other Tile App users to watch for it. If they get near it, their phones will beep and they can alert you to the jacket's whereabouts. That's why its creators, Mike Farley and Nick Evans, call it "the world's largest lost and found."
In 2013, Tile made news for being the most successful campaign to use open source crowdfunding software "Selfstarter," on its own website to raise funds.
It blew by its $20,000 goal in minutes, and raised $2.6 million from close to close to 50,000 backers.
After the funding campaign closed, pre-orders still rolled in. By the end of the year, the company sold more than 450,000 tiles to 125,000 people, it said.
Tile got even more attention when Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak ordered some of the devices.
Woz was invited to visit the company and he even posed for a photo, which went viral on the 'net.
In late 2013, Evans appeared on the CNBC reality show "The Power Pitch" where startups convince VCs to invest. Panelists Byron Deeter, of Bessemer Venture Partners, and David Wu, of Maveron, both did, for an undisclosed amount.
And interest in the gadget still hasn't wavered.
A few days ago, Ross Mason, founder of hot enterprise startup MuleSoft (which raised $130 million in venture investment) tweeted about Tile.
Mason tells us he dabbles in some Angel investing, specifically "Internet of Things" (IoT) startups, companies making Internet-controlled objects.
Great conversation with Bill York of @TheTileApp. I was already excited about Tile and now my mind is buzzing with the possibilities #IoT— Ross Mason (@rossmason) May 21, 2014
Even Tile's YouTube video has had over 4 million views.
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