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Junk Drawer app creates a place for your stuff, on your iPhone

Posted by Scott Kirsner  December 20, 2012 07:30 AM

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Arriving just in time for next week's tsunami of junk I mean, delightful and thoughtful gifts is a new mobile app from Arlington entrepreneur Mike Cayer. Junk Drawer invites you to scan the bar codes of new products that come into your home, and creates a digital inventory of your stuff. The iPhone app automatically affixes an image of the item, and allows you to input data about where you bought it or when the warranty expires. All that can be useful if you need to get it serviced, return it, or perhaps sell it on eBay or Craigslist a few years down the line.

"Everyone has had that experience where they forgot to get something minor fixed, and then the warranty ran out on them," says Cayer, an attorney who has worked for numerous local companies like Thermo Electron, Trellix, and Soapstone Networks. "Junk Drawer can give you a notification 60 days before it's up." You can attach info about the type of batteries, bulbs, or ink a device uses, so that it's always with you when you're shopping. And of course, you can brag about what you just bought or received as a gift on Facebook.

The first iteration of Junk Drawer "is a good inventory manager," Cayer says. But he has plans to eventually link products to their online user manuals; enable you to review them on popular sites; let you fill out the manufacturer's registration form on your phone; and automatically create an eBay listing when you're ready to deaccession the item.

Cayer says that the app was built with the help of an offshore development shop in Columbia, Koombea. He says he has raised just under $200,000 from angel investors to build and launch the app.

Junk Drawer is free, but Cayer says that at some point product manufacturers may be willing to pay to receive registration info via the app (fewer than 10 percent of people fill out those paper registration cards), and have an opportunity to communicate with customers about accessories, refills, and next-generation products. Companies that sell extended warranties may also be interested in communicating to users of the app.

But both of those revenue streams, of course, require that Junk Drawer finds lots of loyal users first...

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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