TurtleCell aims to release 1st iPhone cases in early 2014

TurtleCell is quickly becoming a popular startup in Michigan and the proof is in the pudding at business plan competitions.

The iPhone accessory startup made the semifinals of this year's Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition and then scored the People's Choice award and $10,000 in seed capital at the competition in Detroit last month. The Ann Arbor-based firm is using that cash along with some other seed capital it has raised to make a few hundred prototypes of its iPhone cases this winter.

TurtleCell has created an iPhone case that comes with retractable earbuds. The case would allow full access to the smartphone’s buttons and have a four-foot-long headphone that easily retracts back into the case when not being used. The earbuds will be higher-quality, comparable to Beats by Dre.

"We have pretty much completed the prototype stage," says Paul Schrems, CTO of TurtleCell. "We’re getting ready to start our Beta testing with 500 users."

TurleCell's team of five people will put out those first prototypes will go out in early 2014. It will then take that experience to help spearhead a crowdfunding campaign next spring. The company tried to crowdfund $50,000 earlier this year. It only hit $20,000 but the startup’s team took a lot away from the experience.

"That was the best thing for us," says Nick Turnbull, CEO of TurtleCell. "We used that time we would have used to ship orders to finalize the product’s design and do some fundraising."

Source: Paul Schrems, CTO of TurtleCell and Nick Turnbull, CEO of TurtleCell
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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