Robbie Cabral is the Founder and CEO of BenjiLock, a biometric security and technology company based in Los Angeles, California. BenjiLock deputed its first product at Eureka Park during CES 2017. The product in question was the world's first traditional rechargeable padlock with fingerprint technology, aimed at redefining personal security. BenjiLock's padlock is a hybrid product that can be opened with a biometric fingerprint or a traditional key.
During CES 2017, Cabral participated in the Shark Tank casting call, where he was selected to pitch BenjiLock on ABC’s hit show. Two of the sharks made him an offer and he accepted a deal from Kevin O’Leary, which secured BenjiLock a $100,000 investment. This included distribution and manufacturing partnerships with some of the biggest names in the industry.
Interview with Robbie Cabral
Q1. What inspired you to start BenjiLock?
Robbie: What inspired me to start BenjiLock was a moment of realization that happened when I saw someone accidentally leaving their keys inside a gym locker, prompting them to call the manager to cut the lock. It was a simple yet frustrating problem that I witnessed, and it sparked a light-bulb moment. I realized that there had to be a better, more convenient, and secure way to lock and unlock our personal belongings. This incident ignited my passion for innovation, and I set out to create a solution that ultimately led to the development of BenjiLock.
Q2. What were some of the challenges you faced in developing and launching your first product?
Robbie: Certainly, some of the challenges I encountered during the development and launch of our first product were multifaceted. Building a cohesive and talented team was a fundamental challenge, but it's a challenge I've always relished because being passionate about what I do doesn't feel like work, especially when it comes to building products.
The journey involved numerous phases, from the initial concept and brainstorming to the critical stages of prototyping and then fine-tuning for manufacturing. Prototyping, in particular, demanded extensive testing and refinement to ensure the product's functionality, security, and reliability.
Moreover, being a startup and securing the necessary resources to bring our vision to life was no small feat. It required relentless dedication and perseverance to navigate the complexities of the business landscape, and secure the needed funding.
Despite these formidable challenges, my commitment to innovation and excellence ultimately allowed me to overcome these obstacles and bring my vision to fruition. When you're passionate about what you do, the journey is just as rewarding as the destination!
Q3. How has the company grown since it was founded?
Robbie: Since BenjiLock's inception, our company has experienced significant growth and diversification! What began with the original BenjiLock has evolved into a robust portfolio of innovative products. We expanded into the travel industry with TSA-approved travel locks, providing security and convenience for travelers.
Our commitment to innovation led us to enter new domains, including bike locks and door locks, where we've continued to redefine security solutions. Additionally, we've ventured into the realm of ingredient branding, forging exciting partnerships to integrate our cutting-edge biometric technology into other categories.
One noteworthy collaboration is with TKL Cases, where we've incorporated our biometrics into guitar and instrument cases, offering musicians a new level of security for their valuable instruments. Furthermore, our partnership with Fingerprints from Sweden has propelled our technology into new territories, pushing the boundaries of what's possible with biometrics.
Overall, our journey from the founding of BenjiLock has been marked by expansion, innovation, and strategic partnerships, allowing us to diversify our product offerings and bring the benefits of biometric security to a broader range of industries and consumers!
Q4. What are some of the key lessons you've learnt as an entrepreneur?
Robbie: As an entrepreneur, I've learned several key lessons that have shaped my journey. First and foremost, resilience is paramount. Entrepreneurship is often filled with challenges and setbacks, but it's essential to keep pushing forward, adapting, and learning from each experience.
Patience has been another crucial lesson. Building a successful business takes time, and there are no overnight successes. It's important to remain patient and stay committed to your vision, even when progress seems slow.
Maintaining a positive attitude has been instrumental. Positivity not only helps in overcoming obstacles but also fosters a healthy work environment and inspires the team to do their best.
Humbling experiences have taught me the importance of staying humble as an entrepreneur. Acknowledging that there's always more to learn and being open to feedback and growth is vital.
Lastly, being a believer that things will pan out has been a guiding principle. Believing in the value of your product or service, and having faith that your hard work will pay off can provide the motivation needed to keep moving forward, even in challenging times. These lessons have been instrumental in my entrepreneurial journey with BenjiLock, and I continue to apply them as we grow and innovate in the world of biometric security.
Q5. Can you tell us more about how your fingerprint recognition technology works?
Robbie: BenjiLock's fingerprint recognition technology is a non-connected, highly private, and personal security solution. Whether you're on the go, heading to work, school, or the gym, it provides accessible and easy-to-use security for a seamless and convenient experience!
Q6. What are some of the benefits of using a keyless lock?
Robbie: BenjiLock offers the convenience of both fingerprint and traditional key unlocking, making us a hybrid solution! This flexibility ensures that unlocking with a fingerprint or code is quick and effortless, which is especially useful when you're in a hurry. By eliminating the need for physical keys, our keyless locks provide added security and peace of mind. Plus, our non-connected locks prioritize personal privacy by not relying on external networks or cloud storage, keeping user data secure.
Q7. How do you see your products fitting into the emerging smart home market?
Robbie: I see our products, including BenjiLock, as valuable additions to the emerging smart home market! While our locks are not traditionally "smart" in the sense of being connected to the internet or a home automation system, they complement the smart home ecosystem. Our locks are versatile and can be used in various parts of a smart home, including securing doors, cabinets, lockers, and more! This versatility adds to the overall flexibility of a smart home setup.
One last note to consider is that I view BenjiLock as a technology that seamlessly complements the smart home environment. We're not just products, we're an essential addition to the future of access control in smart homes. Our keyless locks, with their convenience, security, and user-friendly features, align perfectly with the evolving needs of modern homeowners who seek both innovation and peace of mind in their smart living spaces.
Q8. What are some of the challenges that BenjiLock faces in competing with larger, more established lock manufacturers?
Robbie: Personally, I don't see it as a challenge. Instead, I see our role as complementary to the established OEMs and ODMs in the world of security. This is because we bring something truly unique to the table with our intellectual property in the world of access control. Rather than competing directly, we enhance and complement the offerings of larger players in the industry, providing them with innovative solutions that add value to their product portfolios and ultimately benefit consumers.
One of the unique aspects of BenjiLock is that we've built not just products, but a brand with a compelling story. This is something that larger, more established corporate companies often don't possess. When you're relating your technology and products to the consumer, it's our story and the personal connection that truly captivates beyond the products themselves.
Q9. Before we end this Q&A session, please tell us how you plan to expand BenjiLock's global presence?
One of the notable milestones in our journey has been our appearance on Shark Tank and having an investor like Kevin O'Leary, which significantly helped us gain recognition. It not only put us on the map but also played a pivotal role in shaping the story of our brand. Additionally, the numerous awards and our participation in industry-leading tradeshows such as NAMMa, Licensing Expo, and CES, where our innovation was unveiled back in 2017, have further strengthened our global presence!
These platforms have allowed us to showcase our technology to a worldwide audience and build valuable strategic partnerships!
END OF INTERVIEW