Inventors of the very cool iPhone accessory the Opena and finalists in Startup of the Month for March, Rob Ward and Chris Peters have also been named as the number one performer in the ‘Other’ category of their $500,000 Build- A-Business competition.
Ward and Peters, founders of iPhone 4/4s Opena® Case (www.openacase.com), were among 3,060 entrants who started an online business using Shopify’s Software-as-Service platform in 2011. Winners were selected based on the revenue of their best two month during the competition period, the success of the Opena® Case has landed them prizes including $25,000 in cash, a VIP trip to New York for lunch with marketing and leadership expert Seth Godin and $7,500 Google AdWords credit.
‘Other’ was the biggest category of the competition, totaling 34% of sales. Other categories in the competition included Apparel and Jewellery, Food and Health, Sports and Hobbies, Art and Photography and Home and Office.
Ward and Peters used crowd-funding site, Kickstarter, to finance their first product, a protective iPhone 4/4S case, which has the unique feature of a slide-out bottle opener. With sales exceeding 10,000 units across 67 countries within a few months of trading, the budding entrepreneurs pushed hard in the last few months of the competition in the hope of doing well in the competition. Ward and Peters chose the Shopify platform to sell their products as it’s both simple to use, quick to setup and very scalable. Scalability is particularly important as the popularity of the Opena® Case meant they were receiving 1000’s of order from all over the world within the first few months of the site launching.
“Whilst we were aware Shopify was running a competition for web-entrepreneurs, we chose the platform because it’s customisable, scaleable, can process order from all over the world and it’s easy to plug in third party logistics such as Shipwire for auto order fulfilment” says Opena Case co-founder, Rob Ward.
Following the fast success of Opena® Case Ward and Peters established a new company Annex Products to continue developing innovative products. Their second product the Quad LockTM (www.quadlockcase.com) is a revolutionary new case based mounting system for iPhone that makes mounting the iDevice easier than ever before.
After launching the Quad Lock on Kickstarter with a funding target of $20,000 the concept was confirmed receiving pledges totalling $41,209.
With two popular products in the Annex range Ward and Peters ventured to the US to attend CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in Las Vegas where they signed a global distribution agreement with Forward Industries. The agreement will help push their products into the large major retail chains. The two were then invited to showcase their products at MacWorld/iWorld in San Francisco where the OpenaTM and Quad LockTM were widely recognised as some of the most ‘useful’ products on display.