Keycafe: A Uniquely, Novel Idea

In real estate, we have to manage a lot of keys to a lot of houses. It can be cumbersome, confusing, and sometimes a total pain in the rear. But Keycafe, a Vancouver startup, thinks it can change all that.

Using RFID-enabled keys and carefully-designed lockboxes, Keycafe wants to turn neighborhood cafes into key-exchange locations. Why, you may ask? Keycafe founders, Clayton Brown and Jason Crabb, created an easy way to manage access to your home or rental property online, “without any upfront costs or hardware installation.”

How it Workskeycafe

Once users have signed up with Keycafe, within 24 hours they are issued an RFID-enabled key fob that matches them to their keys. When it’s time for a pick up a key is made, the user receives an email with a PIN number and a drop location, and then the user uses double authentication (PIN and key-fob) to identify themselves.

And to protect against misplaced keys or ornery key holders, each key is locked away in a shop lockbox that also has its own key-fob. Once a key is deposited into a locked bin, the keys remain safely secured until the automated system alerts the attendant of which key to grab. Then, they must tape their own fob to verify the right order.

Once a key is picked up, or returned, the system once again emails the key’s owner so they know their key was picked up and returned.

Early Adopters

Besides the multiple possibilities associated with rental agents, many early adopters are Airbnb guests that are often on the move. Though a subscription is $8.95 a month for unlimited key pickups and drops, it’s estimated that nearly 80 percent of people who pick up or drop off keys ending up purchasing something from the store itself. This promotes economic growth for at least the coffee shops themselves.

Keycafe is also offering a year’s free service to anyone who connects them with a willing coffee shop. If you or someone you know would be interested in hosting a Keycafe drop point, please contact them here.