Spotlight On Startups - KeyportAt Sprout Insights, we comb the web to bring you the most up-to-date and actionable resources on how to use social media to grow your business.

To that end, we’re pleased to present the Sprout Insights series Spotlight on Startups. Every week, we feature the most innovative, useful startup companies out there, get the inside track on what they’re doing, and tell you how you can leverage their products and services for your own business.

This week we’re pleased to cast the spotlight on Keyport — a high-tech update to the common keychain. The company is based in Las Vegas, NV, and sells its product in over 50 countries.

What Is Keyport?

What is Keyport?

Keyport is the maker of the Keyport Slide, or as the company puts it, “the keychain reinvented.” According to Keyport president David Cooper, the company’s mission is to “redefine the way in which we customize, carry, and interact with our most frequently used personal items.”

Keyport’s flagship product, the Keyport Slide, was created as a streamlined, stylish alternative to the bulky, inconvenient keychain that we’re all familiar with (and that’s probably bulking up our pockets or purses at this very moment). With the Keyport Slide, the standard keyring is replaced by a sleek holder the size of a small pack of mints, and keys are replaced by “blades” (the business end of your standard keys). The Slide holds up to six items at a time, from keys to optional gear like flash drives and LED flashlights, which can be quickly customized and reconfigured depending on your specific needs.

To create blades from your house, business, and vehicle keys (or virtually any keys, according to Keyport), customers download a form from Keyport’s website on which you place each of the keys you’d like to include in your Slide. You provide a brief description of each key and upload photos of them to Keyport’s secure website. Keyport matches your keys (using unique key codes inscribed on all keys) to its vast inventory of corresponding key blanks.

Keyport then sends you your Slide keyholder, along with your lightweight, pared-down blank blades. Bring these blades to your local locksmith (recommended) or hardware store and have them cut from the corresponding originals in your possession. Your blades are now ready to load up in your convenient Keyport Slide — and your existing bulky keychain can be removed from your pocket and retired to the desk drawer! For a more detailed description of the blade creation process, refer to Keyport’s comprehensive FAQ video.

What Needs Does it Address?

What Needs Does It Address?

The Keyport Slide was originally conceived by company founder and CEO Josh Downes to combat carrying a bulky keychain on his motorcycle and to prevent the keys from flopping around in the wind and scratching the bike. Downes says that “the further we got into development of the product and the more people we spoke to, the clearer it was that we could provide a solution that had even broader appeal.”

Keychains and other physical pocket items are still a functional necessity, yet they remain one of the last bastions of personal clutter. Downes says that most personal devices are getting smaller, lighter, faster, and smarter, but keychains and the “broad slew of items attached thereto” are becoming increasingly unwieldy. Existing multi-tool products are of little help; they don’t incorporate keys, their sizes are fixed, and there is little room for customization. The result is that most people are still carrying “bulky, heavy, noisy, irritating keychains and a plethora of keys they might only use once in a blue moon,” says Mr. Downes’ partner, David Cooper.

Cooper adds that because it’s no longer the fashion to wear a cell phone holder on your belt, more and more smartphones are being carried inside people’s pockets or purses. As a result, more and more of these expensive phones are being scratched or damaged from keys on traditional keyrings.

Keyport, on the other hand, offers people a fashionable alternative that “comfortably fits into the fifth pocket of a pair of jeans,” says Cooper. “It’s compact, lightweight, accommodates the vast majority of key types. And because the keys and utility items all retract into the device, you no longer need to worry about damaging your cell phone, credit cards, or other fragile items you may be carrying in your pocket.”

How You Can Leverage Keyport

How You Can Leverage Keyport

Reach into your pocket. Do you have a set of keys? Then Keyport may be a viable alternative to carrying your keys and your “everyday carry items” on a boring, bulky ring. Mr. Cooper reiterates that the Keyport Slide is not limited only to your six most important keys. “The Slide has six slots but it’s fully customizable. You can quickly reconfigure it with keys or utilities depending on where you’re going and what you’re doing for the day,” says Cooper.

So if you’re taking the motorcycle to the beach, you can remove your car keys, slide in a bottle opener, and presumably ditch your office keys too! Mr. Cooper says that Keyport will soon offer the option of custom printing on the Slide as well. “This will provide unique branding opportunities for corporate and promotional gifts that your customers will want to use over and over again.”

As a special incentive to check out the Keyport Slide, Keyport has provided the following promotion, exclusively for Insights readers. Enter the code SPROUT10A on the online checkout page and you’ll get 10 percent off the regular purchase price. Offer is valid until Feb. 28, 2013. For other partnership or general inquiries you can email sales@mykeyport.com or connect with the company on Twitter and Facebook.

Know of any other startups that would make a good feature on Spotlight on Startups? Contact us, or let us know in the comments below.

[Image credits: Keyport ]