By LEAH FOREMAN
After monitoring the video surveillance market for several months, junior business information technology major Andrew Gilliland saw a gap in the market in the summer of 2016. He decided to fill it while working as an RA in the Boathouse, a living and learning entrepreneurship community, Gilliland founded iSpyPens, LLC.
The iSpyPen itself is an ink pen which comes with a high definition (HD) camera which can take pictures and record video and has a SanDisk memory card inside of it. Not only does the pen have the capability to capture photos and videos, but it can also serve as storage like a flash drive.
Nina Sennott, a sophomore international business major and the customer experience manager for iSpyPens said the pens were created to benefit people.
“The target markets [for iSpyPens] include women in the workplace who use it to prove sexual abuse in the workplace or women at home for proofing domestic abuse,” Sennott said. “And it can also be used in the classroom to take notes and play them back later.”
The pens come in two different types, iSpyPen Plus which starts at $24.95 and the iSpyPen Pro which starts at $49.95. The iSpyPen Plus has a 1280p video recording format and has 30-40 minutes worth of video per a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The iSpyPen Pro, on the other hand, records video in 1080p widescreen format, can record audio only in WAV format 168 minutes per GB, has 40-60 minutes of video battery life and 10 hours of audio-only battery life.
Both are sold with gold or silver accents and both can hold either a 16GB or 32GB SanDisk memory card. The Plus and Pro versions can capture still images in JPEG format and both can plug directly into a Windows or Mac via the USB port. iSpyPens sells its products on its website, ispypens.com
While working in The Boathouse and utilizing the entrepreneurship program, Gilliland “leveraged tools that were already available” to him to create iSpyPens.
“The Boathouse played an integral role in establishing the roots of this company,” Gilliliand said. “We operated everything out of The Boathouse.”
Since The Boathouse is an entrepreneurship-centered living and learning community, Gilliland served as an RA there for the 2016-2017 school year. His role gave him the opportunity to share his experiences with residents, according to Gilliland.
Gilliland’s vision for iSpyPens came to fruition with the help of UT’s entrepreneurship program and the John P. Lowth Entrepreneurship Center which allowed him to tap into resources which otherwise weren’t available.
“The role that UT has played in my success and development as an individual and my ability to impact other people, I really can’t describe how important it has been for me,” Gilliland said. “The access to mentors, professors and to these amazing people and this amazing network is all because of UT.”
iSpyPens is currently making over $60,000 in revenue with over 2,000 sales, and Gilliland and his team plan to keep up the work, continuing to grow and help people.
“If I can make someone feel more secure and protected,” Gilliland said, “then that’s my goal to help people.”
Leah Foreman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.