While working in the cyber security industry, Ryan Angott would join forces with his father Paul, a successful inventor with more than 40 patents, to form Birmingham-based TechLok Solutions. “We created this company because of a need for security solutions in the market,” said Ryan, who serves as president. Their first product, LapLok, is a pocket-sized security guard designed to keep devices like laptops and tablets secure in public places.
According to a recent study, every 53 seconds a laptop is lost or stolen in the U.S. “With such a hybrid workforce, you can physically attach it to the bottom of your laptop. When you want to use it, the arm swings out to lock to any desk or table,” he explained.
LapLok features a user-friendly keypad. “The beauty of the design is that it’s nearly impossible for the thief to get it off, but for a user, it’s a practical, portable and convenient solution that is low-cost and really easy to use,” said Ryan. It can be custom branded for corporations and makes a great product for students.
Ryan, who works for a major cyber security company, understands the value firsthand. “I’ve often found myself in between appointments or traveling and using my laptop in a shared workspace,” he said.
While he knows not to leave his laptop unattended, others sometimes learn the hard way. “I’ve talked to people who say it’s a hassle when it gets stolen, not just for the cost, but the emotional part,” said Ryan. In many professions, sensitive information can be another concern.
His father, Paul, who lives in Bloomfield Hills, makes a great business partner. “We always noodle around new ideas,” said Ryan, who grew up in Rochester and Bloomfield Hills and now lives in Royal Oak. “When COVID hit, it was a blessing in disguise. The fully remote and hybrid workforce is here to stay and shared workspaces are really common. It’s a work-from-anywhere world and if you do not have an office with a lock and key, you might be on a beach or at a hotel where you need a way to protect this asset and data.”
While consumers can find LapLok on indiegogo.com, it should be readily available through major retailers in February. This may be an impressive flagship product, but the father and son team also has a future portfolio in store that includes porch package protection and more.
Both share a security background. “My dad had a home security line of products for consumers,” said Ryan, who began working in cyber security around seven years ago when a friend suggested it might be a good fit. He currently sells software to major health care and manufacturing companies. “It’s a great endeavor,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot and it’s a helpful complement to what I am doing now.”
For their company, father and son are equal partners who balance each other out. “We’re old-school-meets-new-school,” said Ryan. “My dad is a seasoned entrepreneur and a brilliant inventor. We are that yin-and-yang. He is the engineering and manufacturing and inventing type and I’m the visionary and sales and marketing and strategy person. That’s how we work together through all the blood, sweat and tears.”
Their journey has not been easy. “It’s been extremely hard to do something new during a pandemic, and supply chain issues in an unprecedented time for manufacturing,” said Ryan. “On the rewarding side, the wheels of the plane are just ready to take off after being on the runway for five years.
“This experience has taught me things you can’t read about in a book. It’s the universe of hard knocks and I’ve learned an incredible amount.”
Story: Jeanine Matlow
Photo: Mackenzie O'Brien