Chris Wentz was just finishing up his stint at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, when he found himself working on a group project for an entrepreneurship class.
The assignment was pretty open ended: Come up with any business idea.
Along with his teammates, Wentz came up with a creative idea: a wristband that replaces all passwords and keys. A universal key, if you will.
“We just came up with a conceptual idea, we didn’t think it was our place to develop it because it’s hardware; it would take a lot of money to develop,” Wentz told Business Insider. “[But at the end of the class] the professor shook our hands and said, ‘You guys should consider doing this as a real business.’ And he offered to invest his own money. We realised, ‘Oh this could potentially be a big idea.'”
And now a year later, Wentz has turned that concept into a reality called EveryKey. The idea is that you get this wristband and sync it to all of your passwords and keys so that all you need to do is wear it and you’ll never need to remember a log-in combination again.
In the first incarnation of EveryKey, you will just be able to use the band for digital unlocking, so signing into your computer or Facebook. But in the future, Wentz plans on integrating the band with physical locks like your car and house so that it can completely replace all your keys.
“I think the problem with access control right now is that every single device you use has a different way of authenticating you, you might have your iPhone that uses a fingerprint reader and websites that make you type in a password. There isn’t one way to authenticate,” Wentz said. “EveryKey wants to be your one authentication method.”
The band uses Bluetooth low energy technology to communicate with nearby devices and verify your identity. It is protected with a military government grade standard of encryption to prevent foul play and hacking. And you can also disable it remotely if you lose it, just like you would with a credit card.
Thanks to some early investments and grants, Wentz and his cofounder CiCi Qian were able to work on prototypes for different operating systems and browsers. And now their next move is Kickstarter.
If you pre-order an EveryKey via Kickstarter for $US50, you will get a wristband that serves as your universal digital password. Afterwards, EveryKey will begin integrating with physical Bluetooth-enabled locks, which, according to Wentz, are becoming more and more popular. EveryKey will release an SDK that lock companies can use to sync with the wristband.
“I’ve had small ventures before, things that made a small amount of money and a small impact, but I want to develop something that’s influential,” Wentz said. “I want the EveryKey logo and branding to be easily recognisable by everyday consumers.”