With a fashion accessory, Trellie aims to keep women better connected

With a fashion accessory, Trellie aims to keep women better connected

Trellie, which clips to the outside of a purse, measures about 2.5" tall and about an inch deep.

According to Trellie, a new Kansas City, Kan. startup, more than 80 percent of women carry their phones in their purse and more than 50 percent of those women miss calls daily because they can't hear their phone ring.

What if, the startup's founders thought, a purse could help with communication instead of hinder it?

Meet Trellie's solution: a pager-like device disguised as a fashion accessory. Intended to be clipped to the outside of a handbag, Trellie lights up for an incoming call and blinks for a missed call.

"The work bag, the purse, the diaper bag – they were like sound-insulated black holes where phones got lost," Trellie co-founder Claude Aldridge said in an email interview Monday.

Trellie today launches on Kickstarter, offering its first 200 backers the opportunity to claim its device for $30 – $20 less than the anticipated retail price. Within 30 days, the startup hopes to raise $30,000 on the crowdfunding site.

"(Trellie's) mission is to solve common every day communication problems by bringing to market simple, easy to use products," Aldridge (near right) said.

Trellie's call notification device is it's first product, and whether or not it's a successful Kickstarter campaign won't make or break it for Aldridge and his co-founder Jason Reid (far right).

"We have had great success with raising capital for Trellie," Aldridge said. Later this month, the startup expects to close an angel round with participation from at least one investor well-versed in the wireless industry, Ron LeMay, employee No. 1 and former CEO of Sprint's wireless division. LeMay is also an advisor to the startup.

"Having worked in an environment known for innovation and emerging technologies, Ron is a great addition to the Trellie advisory team," the startup's about page touts. Two other former Sprint veterans, Thad Langford and Dave Shields, are also involved in the startup. Langford is an advisor and Shields is the company's vice president of business development.

After coming up with the idea in early 2012, Aldridge left his postion at LeMay's venture capital firm in June to pursue Trellie full-time. Three months later, Reid left his position at a marketing technology companyAnita Newton, the former vice president of marketing at AMC Theatres (Sprint is also on her resume), is part of the startup, as well.

"Essentially the more we studied the market and talked to people about this concept, the more passionate we became about what this company could become," Aldridge said.

After conducting its own research that confirmed the need for Trellie, Alrdidge said, "it was really a no brainer at that point."

Trellie, which requires two AAA batteries, promises to connect to any Bluetooth-enabled phone.

If its Kickstarter campaign is successful, Trellie plans to use the additional funding for a national launch in the second quarter of this year. Aside from the funding, Aldridge said he expects the campaign to offer "invaluable feedback" that his startup can use to improve its go to market strategy.

Trellie is showing off its product this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. If you're attending, you'll find the Kansas startup in the Technocel Booth 36266 in the South Hall.

Here's Trellie's promotional video from its Kickstarter campaign:


Credits: Purse photo from Trellie video on Vimeo. Claude Aldridge and Jason Reid photos from trellie.com. Video from Trellie on Kickstarter.

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