Chicago-based startup Found in Town is working hard to make sure you have a better chance of recovering lost valuables. The service allows anyone to sign up to receive a free keychain and stickers, which they can affix to items important items they’re worried about misplacing. Each sticker has a FiT tag that will lead whatever good samaritan back to you if your lost goods are found.
Found in Town was launched by Zach Haller in January of this year. Haller came up with the idea after losing a series of keys and cell phones to the city.
“The idea to create an online lost-and-found system came to me in the summer of 2009,” Haller said. “After losing a few cell phones and eventually my keys, I thought, even if someone found my keys on the sidewalk right now, they don’t even know I exist, much less how to get a hold of me. So I resorted to writing my phone number on a tag on my key chain. I continued to develop the concept of my company, overtime, and about a year and a half in, the pieces started coming together in a way that made it seem like it could conceivably work. At that point I was like, Okay, I need to pull the trigger on it.”
Found in Town makes money from the service by providing ad space on its keychain to affiliated partners. When users register for the service they can choose nine of the affiliated partners in their area, which will send them exclusive discounts and deals.
“There really aren’t any companies that come close to matching Found in Town’s service,” Haller said. “There are a few similar ‘lost and found’ ideas out there, but none of them are free or anonymous. Found in Town is the only lost and found service that has a community based social media element and partners with local businesses and organizations.”
The company is currently searching for investors, and has already expanded north to the college town of Madison, Wisconsin. Now all the sorority girls tripping their way through the front door of State Street Brats at 2 am can feel a little more confident that the smartphone they left upstairs will somehow make it back to them.