A Marco Island couple appears to have made the right move by creating a business centered around complementing the iPad.
Brien Spina and Tracy Calvert are co-founders of the Freedom I and II, an all-in-one mounting solution and protective carrying case for iPads.
“(Spina) is a true entrepreneur,” Calvert said. “We came up with the idea together, but he kept pushing it.”
They noticed the iPad was awkward to hold just three weeks after it hit the shelves.
“(Spina) likes to have all tech-y things, but we didn’t use it much,” said Calvert said. “It wasn’t easy to hold and maneuver.”
The Freedom line fits both the iPad and iPad 2. The iPad 2 is slimmer and lighter than the original, Spina said, so it required a different type of design. The Freedom I is for the iPad and the Freedom II is for the iPad 2.
The Freedom mount comes with a Velcro strap, four suction cups, screws and a built in kickstand. It allows users to station their iPads just about anywhere — walls, headrests, dashboards, boat consoles, doors, your leg and glass, to name a few.
It has the capabilities to tilt 90 degrees and fully rotate, making it ideal for getting rid of glare, said Spina, who owns and operates Captain Brien’s Seafood and Raw Bar and Off the Hook Comedy Club in Marco Island.
MountMe’s next move came when a Miami investor showed interest in the products after seeing a YouTube video about the brand.
It took off after that, Spina said.
With a simple promotion of free shipping with pre-orders, the products sold out in five hours after the initial online release in March.
The duo credits the sell-out success to the functionality of the product. Plans are in the works to bring the MountMe to electronic stores.
Customers are finding that their iPads have become much more useful after purchasing the Freedom mount, Calvert said.
“What is neat is that you can replace so many things,” Calvert said. “A DVD player, GPS, camera, Skype ability.”
Individual customers are not the only interested party. MountMe products are emerging in different industries.
AlaskaAir pilots have told Spina that they keep the mount on the steering wheel for easy access in the cockpit.
A specially created locking mechanism for the Freedom mount has caught the attention of the hospitality industry and has resulted in negotiations with three hotel chains, he said.
Spina would not comment on the negotiations. Nothing is finalized, he said.
The locking device would allow hotels to put iPads and the mounts throughout the building without the fear of the expensive technology being stolen.
The Freedom packages are available online for $49.99, a price that runaroundtech.com editor says you can’t beat.
“It is very competitive, if not more affordable then other solutions like it,” said Larry Greenberg of Pennsylvania.
Greenberg started runaroundtech.com in February. The website reviews emerging mobile technology.
“One thing that interested us about MountMe is the ability to mount in all those places,” Greenberg said.
With a large family of their own --- living together with six kids, and eight iPads, it was important to Spina and Calvert, to stay budget friendly.
“It had to be affordable for families,” Calvert said. “That was really important.”
The couple is hoping that their products will make the technology iPads offer more useful and simple for Apple fanatics worldwide.
“I don’t think that people are able to use it fully until it has a mounting system,” Calvert said. “There is a need for different mounting styles, because in your hand it is a bit awkward.”
The products have sold in South America, Mexico, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
Customers can expect more from MountMe in the coming months. “We have new products that are soon coming down the pipeline,” Spina said.
Next to debut is a mount that is adaptable to all tablets and E-readers on the market.
“In a year a lot has happened,” Calvert said. “The sky is the limit.”