RALEIGH – The Raleigh-based, self-funded equity firm, Bolstered Equity Group, also known as BEG, LLC, has acquired its first company, uBump, which aims to make the exchange of contact information contactless, and fun.
The Orlando-based startup will move its operations to the Triangle as a part of the deal, and Bolstered Equity Group has acquired 100% of the company, according to one of the firm’s partners, Jordan Hadding.
“The concept behind BEG, LLC was to act as an incubator and funder for direct to consumer e-commerce brands,” said Hadding, noting that the firm plans to acquire as many as four additional brands or companies this year. “uBump was the first acquisition for BEG, LLC and will be used as a case study for partnerships and future funding down the road,” he said.
Hadding stated that the firm was interested in the uBump app and its technology, which originally launched as a social networking product and service on TikTok, and brought in more than 2 million views on TikTok in a few weeks.
That was in late 2020, noted Hadding, and then the company expanded the original idea of social sharing to digital networking and a digital business card, growing the business around a 30% growth rate per month.
The company sends a sticker to its customers, which can be applied to the back of a mobile phone, and uses an embedded near field communication (NFC) chip to send a signal to other mobile devices, which do not need a sticker in order to receive the signal.
When phones are placed within 3 inches of each other, after a few seconds, the signal sent by the NFC sticker is received by the other device and a link appears that can be opened to a customizable contact card with around 20 different fields.
More than 400 people have purchased a device in 2021, noted Hadding, and traffic to corresponding webpages increased by more than 900% in May. Each uBump is $18, or a device can be customized for $30, with discounts for bulk purchases.
“The biggest difference and pain point we tried to address with uBump is the idea of simplicity,” said Hadding. “With other competitors using the NFC technology, one must either install another application to their phones in order for the tech to work, or with other competitors that use a metal business card with an NFC chip, you have the burden of having to keep up with the business card.”
Hadding noted that the company plans to seek additional investment to continue its growth. There are four full-time employees and three part-time employees anticipated to support this growth, and the team will be based in the Triangle.