There are three characteristics that made the Nothing Phone one of 2022’s most hyped tech companies. Two of them are the foundation of a blast-off startup idea.
If I had time to build this myself, I would. Instead, I’m scribbling my thoughts below. Please, steal this idea. (And if you want help getting it off the ground, contact me.)
Hype about the Nothing Phone tends to follow three common threads:
- People like the idea of an affordable iPhone challenger. Not just because it goes toe-to-toe with the authority, but because when people think of their iPhones they think of the things they carry with them. Unread text messages. The apps they can’t delete. The overall baggage of life.
- The Nothing Phone looks cool. Its show-all-tech clear case showcases the inner workings that Apple painstakingly hides with gorilla glass and surgical-grade steel cases. The result is a piece of carry-everywhere tech that stands out in a sea of iPhone or iPhone like smartphones.
- Everyone loves the light on the back of the phone. This light flashes in different ways when people call and illuminates a certain percentage based on your battery status.
(Side Note: This reminds me of my sixth grade entrepreneurial hustle, when I sold Nokia phone batteries and faceplates that lit up when people called. People went bonkers. To this day, I think it’s because people can’t help but be charmed by the thought that lights can glitter just for them.)
There’s an opportunity to capitalize on two of these factors to build a really cool startup for iPhone owners getting Nothing Phone FOMO. Here’s the formula:
- Design a case to mimic the internal workings of an iPhone.
- Add an LED that mimics the Nothing Phone’s glyph technology. Release a companion app that allows buyers to control how the case lights up or vibrates.
All users should be able to access basic light customizations with the purchase of their case, but here’s where the startup is gets secret-door good:
Let’s say the base case purchase allows people to download an app. This app is free lets people customize what happens when specific people call or text. For example: “Ronda is one flash and Tony is two.”
People go into the app to gain control of their life and their notifications, but when they do so, they are exposed to a number of subscription or one-off light-em-up and/or vibrate experiences. These advanced experiences can include things like:
- “Reading” your text messages via morse code.
- Showing different light patterns or gradations based on the weather forecast.
- Unlocking different colors.
- Third party integrations with smart lock or doorbell technologies that alert you when someone arrives home or drops off a package at your door.
- Weather alerts that remind you it’s going to rain or be so hot you don’t need to bring that sweatshirt.
Put simply, this startup founder would be building a niche IFTTT (If This Then That) layered on top of a piece of phone-based fashion/expression of self.
I love this idea because your live would be dedicated to a piece of fashion technology that people will carry with them everywhere they go. The more successful you manage to be, the deeper your community gets. And the deeper your community gets the more data you get about what people own, care about, and want in ambient tech.
This startup idea begins with a trendy phone case. If you manage to prove yourself in the market, your company becomes a common thread in the fabric of everyday life. What’s better than that? So steal this startup idea and have a blast. In you is the potential to light up the world.