VaultBox Ignores Naysayers, Launches in Miami, Seeks to Create Startup Community

February 3, 2012

1:00 pm

Miami is known more for their beaches, babes, boats, and bars than startups.  VaultBox.me could change that – in more ways than one.

This brand new startup that launched last week is a cloud-based inventory management system that lets you easily list all the items you own using your iPhone (download the app here) or computer.   The idea came about after co-founder Jacob Israel’s house was broken into 3 times – in one year.

“I’m in a band, and we went on tour – and everyone’s stuff was in my house.  When we got back, everything was gone.  After contacting my insurance company, I learned that the proof of burden is on the homeowner – you want to replace something for its full value, you have to prove you owned it.  I had a $2,000 vintage guitar, for instance, and the insurance company wanted to see a picture of the guitar, which I had – on my computer and digital camera, both of which were stolen.  I am really lucky that they caught the guy – he was breaking into another house in my neighborhood 2 days later – so we got all of our stuff back.”

That was just the first break-in.  By the third one, Israel had become friends with the cops, who told him that only 8% of the people whose houses get broken into have a list of serial numbers for their stuff.  Because pawnshops have to enter serial numbers into a system that is linked with the police department’s, it is easy for both parties to cross-reference serial numbers and look to see if an item is stolen.  That’s when the lightbulb went off.

Israel joined forced with his cousin Mauricio Jimenez and friend Mohsin Bari – none of whom have been involved in a startup – to put together the app and launch the company, which they bootstrapped.  And, in fact, they have decided not to seek funding at all.

“We’re in a non-startup community. Mauricio and I reached out to people letting them know we wanted funding – and people were telling us we had to move to Silicon Valley to make a serious go of it.  But we said, no, we’re here, and the problem is everywhere.  You want to build a community, you can start it where you are.”

They went to Startup Weekend in Miami, which inspired them to work to create a viable startup community at home.  The Miami Ad School produces a lot of creatives – and there are plenty of technology folks – but Israel told me everyone feels like they have to leave if they’re going to be a success.

“I think the problem is here we don’t believe in ourselves.  The mentality is, if you want to do something big, you have to leave.  And it’s not just startups – the same is true for bands, artists, etc.  They don’t think they can produce anything worthwhile in Miami, but we have so much going on that I want to bring all of those communities together.”

That is a goal that all of us Tech Cocktail support and champion – so here’s hoping they succeed!

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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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