The Roaring Fork Valley is no Silicon Valley. But, it is home to a growing innovative computer tech company. The Basalt-basediOmounts designs and distributes sturdy stands to hold smart phones and tablets. The company does most of its business online and has furnished local lodges, like the Hotel Jerome, with its products.
Turns out, iOmounts isn’t the only business of its kind in Colorado. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.
Tamas Kovacs picks up his brainchild: the iOmount stand. The founder of the small Basalt company says the contraption is sturdy enough for a tablet or smartphone. It’s made of steel and plastic and a magnet attached to a shiny steel ball at the top of the stand is what makes the accessory work.
"This is the core, what we call the iOcore, which magnetically attaches to the ball and then, with the use of a thin, stainless steel piece that goes on the back of your device, you snap it on there and it magnetically aligns," Kovacs says.
A small magnet that comes in the package sticks to the back of the owners device, which allows it to attach to the iOcore or magnetic sphere. The idea is to have stands set up throughout your home and even in your car so you’re never without your device.
Launched last year, the business’s two employees toiled over the design. Kovacs says his brother, who works in the aerospace industry, even weighed in. Kovacs is a Budapest-native who worked in interior design before he started iOmounts. He has a family in Basalt now, so starting the business here was a natural fit.
"We all moved up here because we wanted to live here, so we’re going to make it work. And, part of making it work, is learning how to be more efficient by outsourcing the right things to the right places," he says.
Basalt is expensive he says, and its isolated location also creates difficulties. So, even though its headquarters are here, manufacturing is done in another state.
"I wouldn’t think of Basalt as a tech haven," says Andy Vuong. He's the technology reporter for the Denver Post. He writes about computer tech companies across the state. He says even though lots of companies offer accessories for hand-held devices, iOmounts is unique.
"There are literally hundreds of companies that produce these types of things, like various stands, but the system itself, where it uses magnets to latch the product onto a wall or a kitchen table without actually having to use any kind of sticky removal. I haven’t seen any other company, at least in Colorado, that’s done something like this."
But there is a surprisingly large number of Colorado businesses involved in this kind of industry.
"Actually along the Front Range, we’re home to two fairly sizable companies that produce cases and gadgets for your smartphones and tablets. The biggest one is Otterbox in Fort Collins. We’re also home to Case Logic in the Boulder area," Vuong says.
Vuong says making accessories for devices like smartphones is hot right now, with new businesses popping up all the time.
Kovacs says he doesn’t see these products going away anytime soon. Right now, he’s working on an iOmount stand for a car.
"We’re lucky that these devices are not going away, but they’re taking over so much of our lives," he says.
With positive reviews in national publications like the Wall Street Journal, the future looks bright for Basalt’s iOmounts. It plans to start putting its product on the shelves of big retailers like Target and Best Buy.