Passenger Baggage Xpress Wins ADFA Funding for Innovative Luggage Recovery System
September 24th, 2014 by Rebecca Norman
As an airport supervisor, Michael Eason saw passengers on a daily basis frustrated by the experience of losing their luggage. Michael decided to start his own business, Passenger Baggage Xpress, to develop a way for travelers to effectively track their bags throughout their travels.
PBX recently received an $18,000 award from the Arkansas Development Finance Authority’s Risk Capital Matching Fund that will allow the company to launch its service in Little Rock’s Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport. The local launch will allow PBX to gather data needed to project operation costs for larger airports. This data will also help PBX to raise the next round of investment funding.
PBX’s initial product consists of a permanent supplemental luggage tag and a secure, user-friendly mobile app. PBX tags are unique identifiers used by airline employees to contact passengers when their bags are lost in a fraction of the time it currently takes. The company’s tags are directly connected to over 450 airlines worldwide.
“When luggage is mishandled, lost, or misplaced, PBX members receive alerts through our mobile platform that provide them with the exact airline and employee contact information to locate their lost items. At PBX, we place the power of baggage recovery back in the hands of our customers,” Michael said.
In the future, PBX plans to insert Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) or Near Field Communication (NFC) technology into the tags “for real-time luggage tracking data for passengers,” he said.
Michael serves as CEO of the Little Rock-based company, and his brother, Brandon Eason, is COO. For the past year, PBX has been a client of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, where the Easons received both business planning and market research assistance. “The market analysis information that the ASBTDC completed for PBX was very helpful. We used that information for our investor pitch deck. It was also helpful for our projections and finding our target market of travelers,” said Michael.
PBX’s founders previously participated in the Ark Challenge, Innovate Arkansas’ Gone in 60 Seconds elevator pitch competition (which they won 5 times), and 1 Million Cups. “Networking with mentors, vendors, and investors at these state events has helped with PBX’s development,” Michael noted.
Michael has several pieces of advice for innovative companies seeking funding to support their research and development efforts. “Be prepared when presenting to the state and federal board and have a plan of execution. State and federal funding is the best way to go in the early stages of your company!”