You’ve lost your cellphone or it gets stolen and you try to find it using the “Find my iPhone” or “Find my Android” feature on your device. The problem is the thief is one step ahead – they’ve turned off your phone so it’s not broadcasting its location.

Are you out of options?

Since 2013, LocShark has been developing prototypes for cellphone cases that offer more options than the ones already available on the market. LocShark comes with both GPS and a Bluetooth digital locking device that is controlled by a Bluetooth signal, which enables the user to lock and unlock the device using a web application whether the phone is on or off.

“There have been drastic innovations in cellphone technology over the past 10 years,”co-founder and LocShark COO Chad Galvez said. “Our rationale is if you have a smartphone then you should have a smart case.

“We have changed cell phone cases as we know it. Our innovative product will allow our customers to recover their device whether lost or stolen, and with ease.”

Major competitors include cellphone case makers LifeProof and Otter Box, both of which offer advanced protection for smartphones. The LocShark case would have similar qualities, but differentiates itself in being the only case that has both GPS tracking and digital locking capabilities.

Chad Galvez is CEO of LocShark. Courtesy photo.
Chad Galvez is CEO of LocShark. Courtesy photo.

Galvez, who currently works for a large financial institution in San Antonio, joined the startup in November 2015 after he moved here while serving on active duty. He intends to eventually move LocShark’s headquarters to San Antonio.

Both LocShark CEO Armani Williams and chief marketing officer Rex Rose live in Lubbock. Galvez and Williams have been friends since they were kids, and Rose met Williams while attending Texas Tech University.

LocShark’s smart case will enable phone owners to detect a missing smartphone’s location even if the device is turned off or has drained its battery. It can do this because the GPS tracker is securely housed in the cellphone case. The Bluetooth digital lock can only be unlocked by the owner with login credentials via LocShark’s website or mobile app.

If you’re wondering how secure the case is, it fully encloses your cellphone and is tamper-proof.

“You can’t pry the case off or break the case without breaking the phone which thieves don’t want to do,” Galvez said. “Most thieves are looking to power off the device and sell (it) to someone on the black market.”

With a thriving black market for stolen cellphones, the LocShark cellphone case increases your chances of finding your phone and keeping it locked until you can locate the phone or wipe it clean.

The case is shock absorbent and will protect the phone if dropped. While it is water-resistant, it is not waterproof. LocShark has also developed a prototype for the iPad and will be designing a case for the Samsung Galaxy S7 in the near future.

LocShark Crowdfunding Campaign Launches Today

The startup plans to use crowdfunding to kick-start the production line. To check out LocShark’s Indiegogo campaign, click here.

LocShark’s incentive price will be $89, or 25% off the retail price of $119.

“We have come a long way and (are) very excited about what’s to come,” Galvez said. “The support we have received thus far from the public has been great.”

LocShark’s Indiegogo campaign runs from Oct. 10-Nov. 10. After the crowdsourcing campaign is over, the case will be available on the LocShark website for $119.

“The money raised in the crowdfunding campaign will help us get into production as well as finalize prototypes for other cellphone and tablet models,” Galvez said. “We plan on getting the first batch of iPhone cases shipped by June 2017.”

With the technology currently available for retrieving lost phones, you’ll need to be both quick and fortunate to get to a computer or someone else’s phone to access your cellphone tracking app before thieves can beat you to the punch.

What if you don’t have a tracking app for your Android or iPhone (yet)? You can try tracking your cellphone via your Google account to manage your Android device or find it on your iCloud dashboard after logging into your iCloud account.

However, once skilled thieves get a hold of your phone, they can disconnect your device from your Google or Apple account and uninstall any tracking app. If that happens, neither your account nor any other tracking tool will be able to locate the device, since your cellphone must be logged into your Google or iCloud account.

In that case, a tamper-proof cellphone case can be a good backup plan.

“Please take advantage of the discounted price offered in our crowdfunding campaign,” Galvez said. “We’re looking forward to the great customer success stories that will follow.”

Iris Gonzalez writes about technology, life science and veteran affairs.