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.
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: