TurtleCell, creator of the first protective case for the iPhone 5 and 5s with retractable headphones, recently graduated from its incubator space in SPARK Central to a new office in Ann Arbor. Prior to SPARK Central, TurtleCell, which was founded by graduates from the University of Michigan, was incubated at TechArb.
A video on Ann Arbor SPARK's YouTube channel details TurtleCell's expansion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0sgxk3G4cA&feature=youtu.be
The company's new offices, located in Kerrytown, offer the space it needs to continue to hire and grow. TurtleCell currently has six employees, is expecting to add three more by the end of July and is looking to have a total of 10-15 in the next 12 months. Specifically, the company is looking for talented engineers, product designers, creative marketers with technical skills and project managers.
"TurtleCell is a prime example of how, when offered the right ecosystem and support, young talent will choose to stay in the Ann Arbor region, and create jobs here," said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. "TurtleCell is also an example of how innovation is about finding a solution to a common problem – in this instance, tangled headphones. This young company shows that this region has the elements in place to nurture a business from its earliest days to it bringing a game-changing technology to market. It's amazing to have seen TurtleCell startup, graduate from the university setting, tap in to local and statewide resources and achieve success, all from the SPARK Central incubator."
Ann Arbor SPARK has supported TurtleCell through a range of entrepreneurial services. Not only was the company incubated at SPARK Central, Ann Arbor SPARK helped it refine its business plan and pitch, ultimately helping the company become better positioned to win the "People's Choice" award at the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. TurtleCell has also been able to raise more than $350,000 in seed funding.
"Before Paul and I brought TurtleCell to Ann Arbor SPARK, we knew that we were missing something," said TurtleCell co-founded Nick Turnbull. "We always felt that Ann Arbor had the talent we were looking for, but we didn't have a way to utilize it. SPARK was the bridge that connected TurtleCell to our great community. This connection led to us finding our third partner, Jeremy, and numerous other organizations, some of which were funded for us through Ann Arbor SPARK's business accelerator grants. We know that SPARK has been instrumental in our success up to this point."
TurtleCell is the first case of its kind with premium, in-ear headphones built into the case. The headphones can be extended to any length for convenient, on-the-go listening. When finished, the headphones are easily retracted by pressing a button on the side of the case.
The company recently released its TurtleCell product on TurtleCell.com. Available at this time via pre-order, it's being offered at a discounted price of $39.95 – $10 off the full retail price. Currently, the product is available in black, grey, red and aqua. All orders will be delivered in October.
To support a full-scale launch, TurtleCell has partnered with Digital Treasures, an established mobile accessories manufacturer and distributor headquartered in Michigan.