Found in Town: Reuniting Lost Items With Their Owners

April 17, 2012

11:00 am

Found in Town is a free, online lost and found recovery service that helps reunite misplaced items such as keys, mobile phones, and wallets, with their rightful owners.  Sounds pretty straightforward, right?  But there’s more to the company and concept than meets the eye.

Founded in Chicago by Zach Haller, he jokingly said that he launched Found in Town because he “kept finding so many lost items and wanted to be an overachieving Good Samaritan” – but really, it’s because he kept losing things.

As Haller pointed out, “There are so many variables with lost items, in terms of what was lost, where and when it was lost, who’s responsible for returning it, how far out of their way they should go, if any.. .the list goes on. Found in Town is a response to that by enabling people to make the return instantly and conveniently so it never gets somewhere the owner may not think to look.”

The service facilitates the return of lost items through an anonymous web-based messaging service.  When you sign up, you get tags in the mail that have a unique serial number and the Found in Town URL on it.  Put the tags on your keys, wallet, phone, or whatever else you could easily lose.  When a person finds your lost item, they enter the serial number at FoundinTown.com, which is linked to your email address.  The person who finds it can then send you an email about how to get your lost item back.

While it sounds like a service strictly for consumers, Found in Town is actually B2B.  The service is a marketing tool sold to bars, restaurants, and any other business or industry that wants to provide the recovery service to their patrons or target market and get a new channel to connect to their users and market.  They’ll also be reaching out to colleges and universities as a service for incoming students.

So far, there is not much data available around the success rate of reuniting owners with their lost items.  Haller explained that Found in Town is “restricted from receiving any alerts when owners are reunited with found items, because if we monitored that, we could be liable for the specific item. We’re developing metrics to analyze that and are soliciting voluntary feedback.”

You can learn more about Found in Town at our Tech Cocktail Chicago mixer on Thursday night.

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Monika Jansen is a writer and editor who is happiest pounding out blog posts, newsletters, website content, and other materials. Follow her at: @monikacjansen

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