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Business

Santa Barbara High Grads Team Up Again to Launch New Business, Kickstarter Campaign

With ReelCase, friends Dan Brandt, Zach Chavez and Sean Heiduk aim to keep your smartphone connected and safe from accidental drops

From left, Sean Heiduk, Zach Chavez and Dan Brandt are teaming up to launch a Kickstarter online fundraising campaign for their new business. The trio forged a friendship on the baseball diamond, and it kept them close through Santa Barbara High School and college. Now they’re pitching ReelCase, a protective and accessible smart phone case. Click to view larger
From left, Sean Heiduk, Zach Chavez and Dan Brandt are teaming up to launch a Kickstarter online fundraising campaign for their new business. The trio forged a friendship on the baseball diamond, and it kept them close through Santa Barbara High School and college. Now they’re pitching ReelCase, a protective and accessible smart phone case. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

The three friends first realized they had a rapport on the baseball field at Santa Barbara High School.

Zach Chavez played second base, Dan Brandt set up in center field and Sean Heiduk was a catcher.

The Santa Barbara natives graduated in 2008, and seven years later they’ve reunited to start a business called ReelCase.

The startup will sell protective, accessible cases for smart phones, with a built-in, 28-inch retractable lanyard.

ReelCase has launched its Kickstarter campaign, allowing donors a price break on phone cases, which are currently only modeled for iPhone 5/5s and would retail for $39. Click here to donate. 

The trio of 25-year-olds hopes to bring in enough funds to soon make more models, including cases for iPhone 6 and Samsung devices.

“Everybody’s always on their phone,” said Heiduk, who will manage operations if business picks up. “When I wear my ReelCase, I never drop it. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from everyone.”

Chavez and Brandt are the co-founders, bringing graphics and computer design and business to the table, respectively.

The long-time friends had been throwing business ideas around for years, Chavez said, noting Brandt just got back with a sustainability degree (business emphasis) from Ohio State University.

ReelCase revolutionizes the way people protect smart phones, providing a durable and sleek polycarbonate case and lockable nylon lanyard.

You can safely wear the lanyard around your neck, on your wrist or hang it anywhere else — all without the worry of forgetting the lanyard, since it’s built into the case.

“We saw a lot of uses for it,” Chavez said.

The idea first came about because Chavez wanted to be more mobile when taking pictures with his phone without having to take it in and out of his pocket. Now his dad uses ReelCase when fishing, and the friends have gotten enough positive feedback to think the startup could have legs nationally.

“We have the drive for it,” Chavez said.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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