Ringly was one of the first attempts to marry fashion and technology in a new genre of aesthetics-driven wearables, which aims to integrate technology more discreetly and fashionably into everyday life. The main criteria behind the product, Mercando told BoF, were: “Is it useful? Does it solve problems? And would you still wear it if the battery died?”
The electronics-infused rings, which featured precious and semi-precious gemstones set in 18-karat gold plate, vibrate and subtly light up to alert wearers of important incoming smartphone notifications — users could configure Ringly’s corresponding smartphone app to choose how and for what they are alerted.
The company spent over a year developing its first rings, which were shipped to customers at the beginning of 2015. Ringly’s also reached beyond rings into everyday items like keys and wallets, which the company planned to release new hardware in 2016. Products had built-in accelerometer, meaning future accessories could recognise gestures and movements. However, despite raising $6.8 million in funding between 2013 and 2015, Ringly closed down in 2018.
Before launching Ringly, Mercando founded Hunch, a start-up that curated personal taste graphs of the Internet, in 2011. The company was bought by Ebay in 2013, where Mercando then worked for a year and a half as a senior product and design manager, helping improve its social selling experience.