About – ZUGU

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Our Story

In 2010, our founder Tim Angel pursued his next big idea: creating an iPad case that would drastically enhance every iPad user’s experience - a case that would allow them to unlock the possibilities of their iPad’s full potential. What we didn’t know was that achieving best-in-industry stability (at every viewing angle) and finding the perfect balance between function and a sleek aesthetic would involve years of tireless challenges, roadblocks to overcome, and a whole lot of perseverance.

We’re proud of the journey it took to get here and know that our relentless drive to improve is evident in the product we deliver to our customers today. We’ve spent more than a decade rigorously testing cases, pursuing perfection for every generation, and refining an iPad case that is vastly more functional, supportive, and sophisticated for our ever-evolving world. So whether you’re working, cooking, exercising, or playing with the kids, you’d know that a Zugu case keeps your iPad safe and makes it even more functional than before.

We’re thinkers. We’re inventors.

We’re here to take you and your iPad to the next level.

We’re Zugu.

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The whole story...

He loved everything about the iPad — the technology, the innovation, the style — but when it came to the accessories, our founder Tim Angel knew the options didn’t have that same quality. He knew he could create something superior and stylish. So when he was laid off from his job in 2009, Tim fulfilled a lifelong passion to become an entrepreneur. That’s when Zugu began.

Making the case for cases

At the time, iPad cases didn’t have the flexibility Tim knew was essential for everyday life — at home, in a toddler’s hands, on the road — or the solid protection to keep it safe and still be of exceptional quality. So he decided to make his own. Several weeks and a bunch of adjustments later, he had a prototype.

Tim sold everything he owned, raising enough money to buy a ticket to China for a two-month trip to develop and manufacture his case. When a close friend’s father heard Tim was putting everything on the line for this launch, he invested $70,000 in Tim’s mission. With a good faith handshake, Zugu was born.

By the bootstraps

No contacts in Asia, no proficiency in Mandarin or Cantonese, and only two months to figure it all out. Despite the odds, Tim found a manufacturer who understood his goal. By day Tim worked on his prototype, by night, he was creating a plan to get the word out.

But after weeks of non-stop work and little to no rest, Tim landed himself in the hospital five separate times with throat, sinus, lung, and ear infections. But ever the entrepreneur, he never stopped working in between visits.

ZUGU 1.0 arrives

In April 2010, a final sample was approved. At the same time, Tim worked alongside the factory workers to fully understand the manufacturing and assembly process. He didn’t just want to slap a name on this product — he wanted to know it from start to finish.

Two months later, the first shipment landed in California. While some press floated sales, Tim was already working on a new model with improved features. As he did, he spent the next 12+ months couch-surfing and living out of hotels to fully pay his investor back.

Rewriting the playbook

When he finally paid that off, Tim pivoted Zugu’s publicity strategy to social media. There, he landed partnerships with many well-known YouTubers who loved Zugu case’s versatility, portability, and flexibility.

But he wanted a truly bold way to grab people’s attention about Zugu. So he did what any sane person would do—flew to Hawaii, hiked a mountain, and chucked an iPad into molten lava. The resulting video went viral, racking up 6.5 million views. Sales weren’t too shabby either.

From mistake to milestone

In 2013, the Prodigy case launched. In a desperate attempt to market it at a tradeshow, Tim and his new team members spent an incredible amount of money that got us—wait for it—zero returns. That fallout helped us learn a valuable lesson: going direct-to-consumer would be the only choice. So instead of relying on resellers, we focused our energies on Amazon.

The payoff was exponential: by 2014, we were able to pay over $200,000 in business debts.

Back to basics

Despite constant optimization and the launch of the Genius model, our mantra became “focus.” So we scrapped all models in favor of improving and selling the Prodigy X (our best selling case at the time).

It wasn’t an easy switch, but in 2018, once we launched Zugu’s new website and expanded internationally on Amazon, the proof was in the proverbial pudding. Sales skyrocketed by 500%, proving that quality really does beat quantity

The greater good

It may have been a long journey, but our continued success has since allowed us to double our in-house team, provide our employees with comprehensive benefits, and support causes that are important to us. We’re proud to donate 10% of all profits to charitable causes, one of which is Children International (a nonprofit that helps youth break the cycle of poverty). Through this organization we have donated over $500,000 to build a community center in Colombia.

Giving back is at the core of Zugu. Our business may be rooted in technology, but our mission is connection. We’re passionate about investing in change, inspiring creativity, and building opportunity for the future. We are Zugu.

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Our commitment

At Zugu, we build cases for people, but we also build cases for the greater good. That’s why we’ve partnered with Children International, a humanitarian organization focused on helping kids around the world learn the skills needed to break free from poverty.

Over the past two years, our investment efforts totaled more than $500,000. This allowed for the construction of a community center in Colombia as well as more than 200 scholarships that were awarded to students for continued education.

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