A kid tech company founded by ex-Motorola executives has just gotten a nod from one of the tech industry's biggest names.
Netgear, probably best known for its consumer routers and modems, was part of a group that invested $6.5 million in Jiobit, a company that makes GPS trackers that can be put on children's clothes. Overall, Jiobit has raised $11 million since its founding in 2015.
The Chicago-based startup first released its namesake tracker last year. The device, which costs $100 with an annual contract of $8.99 per month and $130 without a contract, attaches to clothing in a way that's hard to lose or remove.
"I wanted something that was discrete and something that can just attach to any part of their clothing," John Renaldi, Jiobit's CEO, said when I met with him last year. "That way it's a thing they wear normally anyway."
The Jiobit works by gathering GPS information and periodically sending that to the internet over a cellular connection. That periodic connection means the device will work for about a week on a charge. Jiobit is water-resistant and built to withstand mud, spilled milk and the occasional wrestling match. It can be attached to pets as well.
Netgear's endorsement of Jiobit comes at a time when the kid tech industry is struggling to grow out of its teething phase. Analysts say high prices and reliability concerns have kept many kid tech devices from taking off.
There have been some exceptions. Happiest Baby, a startup founded by "Happiest Baby on the Block" author Dr. Harvey Karp, has struck partnerships with high-profile companies like Activision Blizzard, Hulu, Qualcomm and Snap to help employees rent its $1,160 Snoo bassinet.
The nod from Netgear could signal another budding success. Jiobit says demand for its devices jumped during the back-to-school rush. A spokeswoman declined to say how many of the devices have been sold so far, but she did say they're being used by "thousands of families." The company's been back-ordered about six weeks since, and likely will be into February, she added.
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