One errand knocked off the list, about fifty to go, the day before the wedding. “I can do this,” I think to myself as the car’s trunk lid comes down. With the car keys inside. Yep, I did that. Step outside for the morning paper (some of us still like print) only to have the door close behind me. Done that at least ten times. But never again.
KeyMe is a startup that lets you create a cloud-based keychain and avoid pricey calls to the locksmith when you’ve managed to lock yourself out. Currently an iPhone application, with an Android version in the works, a keyme.net account keeps your key information stored online, ready for retrieval on your mobile device.
Here’s how it works. You place your key on a piece of white paper and then scan each side using the KeyMe app. This not only helps record information accurately but is a safety feature – no one can snap a photo of your keys on the fly and make copies. KeyMe then take the two scans and generates cutting instructions for a key maker to produce duplicate keys. When misfortune strikes, you can access a key’s information for a one-time fee of $9.99.
The app itself is free of charge and allows you to store as many keys as you wish. Since the information is kept in the cloud, this means that it can also be shared with trusted individuals. If you’re out of town and a friend needs to crash at your place – when a physical exchange of keys is impossible – you can share the key information via KeyMe, and a friend can then have a copy made.
If you’ve ever tried coordinating key exchanges with family members or locked yourself out from your house or your car before – if you have a pulse – you’ll understand immediately that KeyMe can save a lot of time and money, and minimize one of life’s embarrassing frustrations.
KeyMe is a New York City-based startup, where they have also opened kiosks in five 7-Eleven locations. At these kiosks, you can both scan your keys or use information already on your phone to create duplicates. KeyMe also helps locate nearby locksmiths. Other features include the ability to create a fingerprint scan to access the keychain and email notification of any activity, which further prevents fraud.
If I had been blessed with an entrepreneur’s mind or been keen to the mobile scene earlier, this is one of the first startups I would have created, having given myself plenty of opportunities to see a problem firsthand that needed solving. I will petition gladly for a KeyMe kiosk at the end of my block.