Does the Internet need another tech-retail site with gadgets and software for sale? Michael Wray thinks so -- provided such a site is unique.
The Minneapolis man this week is launching Uneeq, a tech-retail site he hopes eventually will impress geekier consumers with an interest in offbeat gizmos and software at often steep discounts.
It's early days for Uneeq, however. The site still doesn't have much of an inventory. Its initial marquee offering is a Macintosh-software "bundle" with eight titles for a combined cost of about $30, which would usually sell for $228 or so.
Other software options include a pair of Smile Software apps for the Macintosh, PDFPen and TextExpander. Hardware offerings include an assortment of Touchfire-branded keyboard cases for Apple iPad tablets, along with an emergency flashlight and several device-charging products.
That's pretty much it.
Wray, a veteran Apple-software retailer, said he is not concerned about eventually getting Uneeq's product selection fleshed out.
Wray said he ran into a not-unexpected problem: Convincing the makers of tech products to ally themselves with a site that didn't yet exist. Now that Uneeq is live on the Web, he is confident that he'll have more vendors soon.
Wray's reputation will surely help. He's been operating Minneapolis-based Mariner Software for more than a decade, and the company itself goes back a quarter-century. Wray's role at Mariner continues, but he said he hungered to start something new.
To that end, he has entirely "bootstrapped" the Uneeq venture himself, in a collaboration with his Mariner Software business partner Dusty Fields. So far, he hasn't needed venture capital or angel investors.
"I was able to call in some favors from friends and associates" for marketing, business-strategy and technical assistance, he said. "No money, though. Starting a company doesn't necessarily need to be an expensive venture, if you know what you are doing."
For Wray, Uneeq "has been an itch that needed scratching, to launch something other than a software company." Wray anticipates the company will become largely a tech-gadget purveyor with an Apple-centric, young-adult male clientele.
At the same time, Uneeq is following the time-honored tradition of offering software bundles -- sets of complementary apps sold together at sharp discounts, often with hugely successful results.
The Mac-software bundle now on Uneeq's home page is a sign of what is likely to come, Wray said.