In an ideal world, the Lollipop Precious Cargo device will never be needed for its chief advertised purpose. Nevertheless, say its developers, if their product is ever used for that chief purpose, even once, it will have justified the effort to bring it to market.
Lollipop PC is the brainchild of EbitCreative LLC, a startup company formed by Chief Executive Officer Tommy Lesperance Jr. and Chief Financial Officer Tony Vadella — both from the Richmond area — and Rick Hammond, their Atlanta-based information technology officer.
They were inspired to make their gizmo because of the tragic deaths of children left in hot cars. According to a San Jose State University study, since 1989 an average of 37 such deaths occur every year.
In some cases, Vadella said, these horrible deaths happen when a parent is simply forgetful.
Vadella and company have a product that can keep some parent, somewhere, from forgetting about that “precious cargo” in the back seat.
Essentially, the Lollipop PC is a mobile-device alarm that goes off when you get too far from something you do not want to leave behind.
The Lollipop is a blue-and-white swirl — it looks like its name — about a quarter-inch thick and an inch and a half in diameter. You can drop it in a pocket, for example, or pin it to the side of a tot’s car seat.
You install the app on your phone or other device, and dial in the distance allowed. Once you venture any farther than that, the alert sounds — mild or high, your choice. The system is already available for iPhone, and Lesperance said the company is building out an Android app.
Lollipop PC is being marketed first and foremost as a child-safety item — not only for the car, but also as a way to make sure a kid doesn’t wander too far away, for example.
And there are other uses. As an add-on for a key ring it could prevent that last-minute hunt before leaving for work. In a handbag it might alleviate occasional angst. It could help keep track of a pet.
Lesperance and Vadella have just begun selling the devices online atwww.lollipoppc.com for $29.95 each, with discounts for multi-gizmo orders.
Lesperance and Vadella declined to disclose how much they have invested in their venture, but said the outlay so far is well into six figures.
Lollipop PCs are made in China, marketed from Lesperance’s house in Richmond’s Fan District and shipped from a fulfillment center in Hanover County. They’ve sold about 100 of the first manufacturing run of 5,000.
Already, Lesperance said, a merchant has approached them about a major shipment for resale. “We’re working out a wholesale price,” he said.
Eventually, Lesperance said, the company hopes to attract major retailers to carry their device in stores and online.
And they expect to continue developing the product. The prototype version they’re selling now is about a year old. Already, Vadella said, they’re working on a second-generation Lollipop PC that will incorporate GPS technology.
“With a product like this,” Vadella said, “you can’t stand still. New things are constantly coming to the market. You have to stay a step ahead.”
Lesperance and Vadella share another business, Anesthesia Connections LLC, which provides out-of-hospital anesthesia services with a staff of about three dozen anesthesiologists.
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