Forget clunky plastic, this startup is bringing bling to wearables

Lauren Lyster
Yahoo Finance

Watchout Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and Fitbit. While consumers await the rumored iWatch, anticipate Google Glass's commercial lauch and try to discern the merit of a senator's FitBit privacy concerns, a startup called Ringly is trying to take tech wearables mainstream. The company's strategy is to take up the fashion quotient and target women, with a new line of smartphone-connected jewelry. 

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When it comes to wearables particularly with women, Ringly CEO and Co-founder Christina Mercando believes it has "to look nice and make you feel good ... so it was really important to us from the beginning to have the technology be so discreet that you almost don't know it's there. So you'd want to buy the piece because of how it looks and makes you feel, but there's this cool added functionality to it."

Ringly can vibrate or light up to notify you of texts, phone calls, emails and various alerts like your Uber car arriving -- all depending on how you customize your cocktail ring with an iPhone app. Mercando thinks the feature appeals to women who tend to keep their phones in their purses.

It's also a great tool for a mother who doesn't want to be near her phone but wants to know if the babysitter calls, she points out.

She says they are taking on the Apple's and Google's of the world who are in this space, but are "taking a different appraoch." Instead of "trying to cram all the functionality you see in a phone on your wrist," they wanted to focus on the aesthetic value, as well as the functionality.

Ringly isn't the only one zeroing in on this "fashionable" tech market. Fashion designer Tory Burch has teamed up with FitBit on a line of women's accessories for the fitness monitor that range from $38 to $195 for bracelets and a pendant.

As for targeting women, Mercando indicates they spend more for accessories per year and shop more than men for clothes, so Ringly identified it as a bigger market for wearables.

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Ringly's product is available for pre-order online now, for $145 to $180 with a promotional discount of 25% off. As for the price tag, Mercando says they are going for "accessible luxury," using all semi-precious stones and 18K gold metals. She claims they "sold out of the first 1000 within the first 24 hours."

The product will ship this fall, which is when they're looking to complete their next round of funding. Early investors (they raised $1 million initially) include prominent venture capitalist firm Andreessen Horowitz.

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