Get Wet With Waterproof iPods and Other Devices
In 2010, Royce Nicholas’ wife wanted to create a dry-erase board that was waterproof so that she could jot down notes while in the shower. We all get great ideas while lathering up, so Mrs. Nicholas may have been on to something.
But Royce Nicholas, who majored in engineering at San Diego State University, wasn’t convinced of his wife’s idea for a waterproof dry-erase board for the shower. Instead, he decided to focus on waterproofing iPods so swimmers and other water athletes could listen to music while they work out.
Three years later, Nicholas, 28, and his Waterfi brand of waterproofed iPods and other electronics are popular among swimmers, kite boarders, triathletes and others who spend a lot of time in the water.
Since its founding in Nicholas’ living room, the San Diego-based company has grown to 20 full-time employees and generated about $4 million in revenue in 2012 selling just four waterproof products – the iPod Shuffle, the iPod Nano, the Nike+ FuelBand and the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. The company recently produced a prototype of a waterproof iPhone 4, but the item is not yet in production, Nicholas said.
The secret to Waterfi’s success is a patent-pending Dual Layer waterproofing technology, which fills the device from the inside and coats the internal components in a rubbery, waterproof and shockproof sealant. No case is needed and the waterproofed device looks and feels exactly like a new non-waterproofed item.
Waterfi buys new iPods directly from Apple then waterproofs them and sells them. The company also waterproofs the items that customers mail to the company.
Waterfi sells waterproofed iPod shuffles for $139.95, with a two-year warranty.
FreshlyTechy: What does the future hold for Waterfi?
Royce Nicholas: I would love to get to phones eventually. Getting the iPhone (into production) would be huge and I’d like to have the iPad too.
FT: What do customers think of your products?
RN: People will say, “Where’s the case?” They don’t realize there is no case. They don’t really get it a lot of times.
FT: How long does it take for you to waterproof an iPod?
RN: It takes about 15 minutes. A team of three full-time technicians can do about 200 units per day.
FT: What is your top-selling product?
RN: The iPod shuffle is by far still our best-selling product. It’s an amazing product. It’s small, lightweight and easy to use.
By Tim Alan
Tim Alan is a veteran writer who covers technology and serves as the Editor of Freshly Techy.