ePlate: The Battery Powered Credit Card
In previous articles, we highlighted the growing trend of battery miniaturization and looked at companies such as Blue Spark Technologies which in January 2012 opened a high-volume production factory in Wisconsin capable of printing over 300 million flexible printed batteries per year. One interesting company that is commercializing a thin battery technology using a very unique consumer application is Dynamics Inc with their battery-powered credit card.
About Dynamics ePlate
Founded in 2007, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania based Dynamics Inc. took in their first $5.7 million round of funding in 2009 followed by a second much larger round of $35 million led by Bain Capital Ventures in 2011. The CEO of Dynamics Inc, Jeff Mullen, is considered to be one of the most prolific young inventors in the United States. The Company has now grown to over 100 employees.
Dynamic Inc.’s flagship offering is a battery-powered credit card that is programmable and functional with any number of buttons available for the user to interact with. The battery is waterproof, flexible, maintains the dimensions of a typical credit card, and lasts more than three years. The technology is covered by over 62 issued patents which the company lists on their website. Various applications for this technology include a card that lets you select and use multiple accounts on a single:
Another security application allows the user to only see the entire credit card number by first entering a code:
Their flagship product, the ePlate, allows a user to choose from 50 different rewards programs online or through their smartphone and then switch between them via buttons on the credit card:
As soon as a transaction takes place, the time, place, location, and amount of the purchase are used to immediately notify the user of any rewards they may have received, or the progress they’ve made towards a particular reward. The appeal of the card to the consumer is not only the almost instant gratification in receiving rewards, but also how much more can be gained per dollar spent when compared to the typical “X%” cashback offering or complicated points-based systems employed by most rewards-based credit cards. The rewards are varied and include vouchers for private jet flights, gourmet coffees, or an iPad Mini after spending $20,000 which the company claims is 60% faster than a traditional 1% rewards card. The rewards, or “experiences” as the Company calls them, are listed on their website where users can rate them. The process of applying for one of these ePlate cards is via the Dynamics Inc. website and is simple as any other credit card application.
The potential applications of this technology are limitless. From a functional perspective, it could be used to allow someone to switch between credit or debit on a single card. From a marketing perspective, the card could be used to target promotions based on purchases. For example, any user who makes ten purchases at McDonald’s could immediately be given a free meal at Burger King. Dynamics Inc. not only has a patented battery technology that has been successfully commercialized, but they also have created an exciting ecosystem through which they target consumers directly. If the ePlate continues to gain transaction with consumers, the Company may present a very attractive acquisition candidate by any number of potential suitors.
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