Ryan Seacrest Co-Founded a Startup Making an iPhone Keyboard

TV and radio host/producer and partner Laurence Hallier have invested $1 million to produce the Typo Keyboard

typo cases dual

Ryan Seacrest has stuck his multihyphenate fingers into a new tech venture.

The TV and radio host-producer — no stranger to Silicon Valley — is one of the founders of and investors in Typo Products, a startup that plans to start shipping a $99 keyboard attachment for iPhones in January. It’s supposed to cut down fat-finger typos (hence the name) and speed up text entry with a tactile keyboard a la the traditional BlackBerry.

The “American Idol” emcee and Laurence Hallier, real estate mogul and CEO of marketing firm Show Media, have invested more than $1 million in the L.A.-based Typo. The duo expect to plow more than $5 million into the venture, according to a source familiar with the startup, confirming an earlier report by AllThingsD.

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According to Typo Products, the genesis of the company’s formation goes like this: Seacrest and pal Hallier were out to dinner — each with two phones, and both frustrated with typing on touchscreens. They checked out other smartphone keyboard add-ons but found them wanting.

The company claims the Typo Keyboard, which took nearly two years to develop, is sleeker than other options: It adds just under 1/4 inch in thickness and less than 1 inch in total length to an iPhone. The device will be unveiled at the 2014 International CES (although the site is taking pre-orders) and is slated to ship Jan. 13, initially for the iPhone 5 and 5s, with versions for other devices and tablets in the works.

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Seacrest, in addition to running Ryan Seacrest Prods. and attending to multiple hosting gigs, is an investor in Pinterest and car-sharing startup FlightCar. He also bought marketing services agency Civic Entertainment Group last year and is an investor in AXS, Mark Cuban’s cable channel.

Watch a promotional video for the Typo Keyboard, complete with a soothing score: