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|GoGlove Brings the World to Your Fingertips|
|Published Thursday, March 16, 2017|
Cousins Ben Harris (left) and Eric Ely ski together all the time and, when they do, they like listening to music on their phones. But when they wanted to talk, they found themselves screaming at each other because there was no easy way to turn down the sound without freezing their fingers.
Frustrated, they searched for an answer, ultimately developing their own solution called GoGlove. The Bluetooth powered glove, also the name of the company, lets users control music on their phone and operate a Go Pro camera during outdoor activities with the tap of two fingers.
“This idea was pretty much born on a chairlift,” says Ely, a software and hardware engineer in Goffstown and one of three employees of the company. Harris is in charge of sales and marketing, and Mike Conti manages the mechanical engineering. This is the second season of sales and Ely, interviewed in November, says, “Sales now are already above and beyond what they were last year,” though he would not disclose specific financial figures.
The fleece gloves come in five sizes and are made by Polartec in Massachusetts. An app and Bluetooth remote that come with the gloves let users program exactly what they need. The thumb has a magnet and each finger has a sensor, giving users eight different programming options based on which finger is used and the number of taps. The gloves work with both Android and Apple devices.
The company’s target market is skiers, snowmobilers and motorcyclists, and Ely says motorcyclists have become one of their larger markets.
GoGlove hasn’t stopped with the gloves. It also developed Bluz, a low energy Bluetooth technology powered by a small coin battery that lets users connect to applications and devices remotely. Ely says the eventual goal is to license the technology to other glove manufacturers to incorporate into their products.
Connecting to the Market
In the three years since they started, the company has raised more than $100,000 through two Kickstarter campaigns–$45,585 for GoGlove and $67,542 for Bluz. That money, in addition to loans from friends, family and personal investments, has funded the business so far. However, Ely says they are now seeking investors to help license the technology. The company has yet to break even but Ely says selling off the existing inventory would do so.
“It’s a lot of fun when you have the freedom to make the product you want,” Ely says. Products are sold online through GoGlove’s website and Amazon.com, as well as in a few retail outlets out west and at trade shows, including the Boston Ski and Snowboard show.
The company was part of the first class in the Alpha Loft business incubator’s accelerate program for new businesses from February to May 2015. “That really helped us get through some of the business problems we had. How do your structure your company? How do you find financing? It was just a great experience in terms of building a general business,” Ely says.
The company has also received publicity from CNBC, VentureBeat.com, CrowdFund Magazine, TechMash.co.uk and Gizmag.com.
A World of Opportunities
Ely says GoGlove is just the starting point. They developed Bluz for GoGlove, but the code is purposely open sourced so users with programming skills can connect it to other apps, whether for tracking miles run, a home monitoring system or to answer phone calls.
“We are looking to add more functionality to [the gloves] like activating Siri and answering phone calls,” Ely says. They are also looking into connecting with emergency services so if a skier, motorcyclist or other person is in trouble, they could tap fingers to send an SOS directly to emergency personnel. Other avenues they are exploring include how the gloves could locate friends who you’ve been separated from, say at a ski area.
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