Everybody’s been there: you’re sitting on a terrace, then pay up and walk away. With your friends, but without your bunch of keys. Once you attach a Lapa on that bunch of keys, that kind of situation is a thing of the past. Lapa is a Bluetooth tracker for personal belongings which is connected to your smartphone.
The two Portuguese Luís Certo and Jaoa Oliveira have come across this situation so often that they decided to do something about it. They now manage a company with 12 employees and never lose anything anymore. Lapa is based in Porto in Portugal.
How does Lapa work?
Lapa is a tracker that connects to an app on your mobile phone via Bluetooth 4.0. The range goes up to 60 meters. We have developed a tracker for personal belongings, but also for pets and children. As soon as the distance between the Lapa and your phone becomes too great, three things happen: you receive a notification, you see how far away the tracker is from you and you can see where you and your Lapa were in the same location most recently. Then you can let the Lapa ring and vibrate, so you can easily find your lost backpack, wallet or dog. It works both ways, if you’ve lost your phone, you can let the Lapa ring it.”
What’s your revenue model?
“We market our product in two different ways: we’ve started selling Lapas to companies. We personalize the Lapa and its packaging so that companies can give it away as a business gift. Our tracker works via a smartphone application, so companies can send their relations a personalized message via that app – they gain access to our back office when they buy a Lapa. This is completely anonymous; companies do not have access to their business relations’ data in the Lapa app. All they know is that everyone we give a Lapa to will receive a personalized message. In addition, consumers can now also order a Lapa via our online store or on Amazon. One Lapa for your belongings costs around €25.”
How did you come up with this idea?
“Actually, we just often used to lose a lot of things ourselves – especially while we were traveling. That’s annoying, inconvenient, and it costs a lot of money. We wanted to develop a light and easy-to-use device that could communicate with your smartphone. Lapa is the result of that. It’s nice to see that Lapa is especially popular among travelers.”
What’s in the pipeline for 2020?
“We’re currently working on a new version, the Lapa Card. Same idea, but as thin as a debit card, so you can easily slip it into your wallet. We are also in talks with external parties about integrating Lapa into products. Then it’s not something you need to attach, but the system is already built in when you buy a bag or sunglasses, for instance.”
Where will Lapa be five years from now?
” In five years’ time, we want to be the world’s second largest provider of Bluetooth trackers. There is a lot of competition and we won’t get past the biggest one, but we’re happy with a second place. We really believe that with our features, our team and our ideas for the future, we will succeed.”