i-Blades, Inc.

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January 23, 2017 Issue



Revolutionary Smartcase Expands Capabilities of Smartphones with Expansion Platform for easy Snap on and Snap off Battery, Memory, Sensors and More



Jorge Fernandes

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer


i-Blades, Inc.


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – January 23, 2017


CEOCFO: Mr. Fernandes, what is the concept behind i-Blades?

Mr. Fernandes: The concept is to give smartphones additional functionality so that consumers, government and businesses can do things that they can’t do with a smartphone today. It is a very simple concept: the smartphone is a closed box and i-Blades can expand it.


CEOCFO: What are some examples of what i-Blades can do?

Mr. Fernandes: We have a list of over 50 different things--some are really high-end, high-tech and some are very simple. The simplest one is adding more battery and more memory. After that they start to get a bit more complicated. For example, you can add a biometric authentication with end-to-end encryption blade for corporations whose employees use personal phones for business. With this i-Blades security blade, you can secure end-to-end communications. And there are lots of fun things you can do like using the mosquito repellent blade on the back of your case when you are outdoors. Anything in between is a possibility too!


CEOCFO: How have you decided what solutions to work on?

Mr. Fernandes: As a startup you have to make a couple of decisions. Do you want to go after the market quickly and therefore, you want to raise a lot of money right away. Or do you want to take a more step-by-step approach. We are trying to change the market. We are trying to give end users options to personalize their smartphone. Since we decided to take more of a step-by-step approach we are looking at the simpler solutions, consumers’ immediate needs, things customers already do today.

CEOCFO: What is physically involved?

Mr. Fernandes: Let’s come back to how we approach it. 85% of consumers that buy a smartphone buy a case. It turns out the case is a dumb case and doesn’t do much except provide protection. Now protection is very important because if you just shelled out $800 for a device, you don’t want to walk out the store, drop it and break it. So the first thing we decided is that instead of providing protection via a dumb case, we would provide protection via a smart case. Once you have a smart case, you now have a platform for expansion. This gives you a modular platform so that all these types of “blades” can be snapped on the back of a case. The blades are removable and universal and therefore, you begin the expansion of the smartphone’s capabilities.


CEOCFO: What are some of the challenges in creating the technology?

Mr. Fernandes: There were massive challenges. Many companies, especially very large ones, see an opportunity to add additional functionality to the phone itself. What we are trying to do is very similar to what happened in the 1980’s. At that time you could buy an Atari, a Commodore, an Apple and they were all vertically integrated solutions. So when you bought the Commodore 64, you got everything from Commodore--the screen, keyboard, operating systems and apps. This is sort of what you have today. But back then, all of a sudden Microsoft and Intel came along and began to give consumers options and this completely crushed the competition. In terms of the opportunity, lots of companies see modular technology as the future, but it’s a very difficult problem to solve in an accessory form factor. In the 80’s, people were ok with putting this ugly desktop in their office. Today, as an accessory, the smartphone has to be elegant, fit in your pocket and be slick and functional. This makes for a difficult technical solution.


CEOCFO: Are your products available now? Where are you in this process?

Mr. Fernandes: We are selling and shipping now in small quantities. We are selling on our website and now that we’ve come back from CES 2017, we are going to begin to scale very rapidly. We are doing it step-by-step because we believe we are at the cusp of a complete smartphone market change and we want to take a more measured approach. 2017 is going to be a huge year for us.


CEOCFO: What does that measured approach mean?

Mr. Fernandes: The measured approach means that, going back to the philosophy, we do not want to go out and raise lots of money, which I have done for other ideas I created before such as NFC, contactless payments and Apple Pay™. We raised a great deal of money for those and spent a lot of that money to change the market. However, we were not able to keep creative control of the companies which led to confusion and many missteps. We created enough market demand to move the market but got lost within our own world.


CEOCFO: Would people be adding this device when they need it or would they keep certain ones on their phone and add additional ones as needed? Is there any bulk to the phone?

Mr. Fernandes: We give you the best of both worlds—and we’re the only ones that can do that. When you don’t need battery, memory, security, mosquito repellents, extra screens or other things, you can take them off, go out for the night and just have your phone with you for emergency. When you’re at work and need heavy duty power, security and maybe a smaller or bigger screen, you can just snap on that capability. At that point, you’re ok if something is a little bigger or smaller because it is helping you do what you want to do faster and better. You have what you need when you need it. Then just snap it off when you don’t need it any longer.


CEOCFO: What have you learned as you have started to develop the different i-Blades and people have tested and used them?

Mr. Fernandes: The first thing I learned is the technology works. And because we got the technology and style of the case to work, I then learned that people look at our stuff and say it is amazing what we have accomplished. The case really gives you protection, it’s elegant and it helps you upgrade. I learned that our initial insight into the market is proving to be correct. You know, you have a hunch it is going to work out and now it is coming together nicely.


CEOCFO: How do the i-Blades attach and how are you sure they are not going to fall off?

Mr. Fernandes: We call it magic. That is our intellectual property. You can throw it on the couch, drop it and try to shake it off. You can exert a hundred pounds of force sideways and the blades are not going to come out.  It takes about five pounds of force in the vertical direction for them to come out.  And say you drop it from a second story window that’s 20 feet up and they snap off, well you just snap it back on.


CEOCFO: Can they wear out? Is there a shelf life?

Mr. Fernandes: No, that is why we call it magic. I still have the very first prototype I created and it still works. It has been two years, which in the technology world, is unheard of. Your first prototype usually blows up in smoke, but the first i-Blades’ prototype still works. Part of the reason we designed it this way is to deal with some of strains of making it elegant. When we were done with that, we basically got an infinite shelf life.


CEOCFO: As you mentioned from your earlier ventures, you wanted to do this one differently in terms of raising money. Why take this approach now?

Mr. Fernandes: I founded several companies. The companies that were more personally rewarding, both emotionally and financially, were those where I was able to keep creative control. The ones that became frustrating both emotionally and financially, even though they were equally big ideas, were those where we raised a lot of money, but the result was too many people with a say in the company’s direction so that in the end, you just spin around and around and nothing gets done. Given what I have done before, I concluded that the old notion “if you get one percent of General Motors, it is better than getting a hundred percent of some other small company,” is not accurate! And it’s not quite accurate because the likelihood of keeping one percent of General Motors is very unlikely. Look at very successful startups in Silicon Valley like Google and Facebook. You almost always end up having the founders go all the way to the finish line for that creative reason.

CEOCFO: Why is i-Blades not only innovative and exciting, but important for people?

Mr. Fernandes: i-Blades is going to change people’s lives. That is why it is important. Today, we are like robots. We all have the same phone whether it is from company A, B, C or D. They all look the same. If you stand ten feet away, you would not be able to tell if I have the same phone as you. So, you ask, what is wrong with that? The problem is we are all different and all have different needs at different times of our lives. Being able to add all kinds of new capabilities to your phone by simply attaching and detaching them from your phone case as we go about our daily activities, well that is going to be a life changing event!


CEOCFO: What should people remember most about i-Blades?

Mr. Fernandes: We have an amazing team that has helped bring this idea to life!

At i-Blades we’re making plain old phone cases obsolete. While these cases protect, the future is SMART!



“At i-Blades we’re making plain old phone cases obsolete. While these cases protect, the future is SMART!”- Jorge Fernandes


i-Blades, Inc.



Jorge Fernandes








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