Ringly is 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 feature 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 can 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 this year. But Ringly’s ambitions stretch beyond rings into everyday items like keys and wallets, and the company has plans to release new hardware in 2016. Current products already have a built in accelerometer, meaning future accessories could recognise gestures and movements.
At the beginning of this year, Ringly raised a $5.1 million Series A round of funding, led by Andreesen Horowitz, with participation from High Line Venture Partners and Silas Capital. 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.