ZORE CEO & Co-Founder Yonatan Zimmerman is bringing modern technology into the gun world, but is doing so without touching the inside of the gun. ZORE has two products: the ZORE X is a gun storage lock that uses a fast acting mechanical dial code, as well as the Watchdog, a magnetic alert system that sends immediate notifications to your smartphone via an app. In this in-person interview, Yonatan explains what compelled him and his partners to start ZORE, and how they plan to navigate the notoriously unforgiving gun community in America.
1) Why did you start ZORE?
We started this because of an accident of friendly fire in the IDF. A notable Ynet newspaper story talked about the mother of the soldier killed (Captain Tal Nachman), with the headline blaring: “How Come We Haven’t Figured Out a Solution Yet?”
This motivated us to start to think of solutions for problems with gun-related issues. Through the process, we realized that the overall problem of friendly fire is too complicated, and probably for RAFAEL or another huge company to solve. But in our research we discovered an amazing idea for a product for gun storage – misuse and unauthorized use of guns, which is a major problem in the United States. As soldiers from combat divisions in the army, we understand this topic very well, and can relate.
2) It seems that the gun community hates new gun technology, especially smart guns. How are you different? Will the NRA accept you?
The gun industry does not hate technology. They only hate technology that you embed inside the gun. The gun world enjoys reliability, but new technology such as bio-metrics are only a few years old and not reliable enough. Bio-metric technology also depends on too many external factors like clean hands, gloves, etc.. Combining a reliable technology like guns with a new tech like that doesn’t make sense. However, there is new tech that works well – electronic safes are fine. And that’s because it doesn’t touch the inside of the gun. It’s a matter of reliability. Right now, no technology is suited to embed inside the gun.
3) Does ZORE have any direct competitors?
ZORE’s lock is a unique concept because of the cartridge shaped mechanism that we created. Identilock uses bio-metric technology, which in theory is a good concept because it doesn’t go inside of the gun, but it’s just not reliable enough because bio-metric technology (fingerprint reading) is not 100%. The GunBox is a light safe that can go anywhere, and is portable, but uses a fingerprint scanner to unlock.
We do think RFID is more reliable than fingerprinting, but the problem with it is that you always need an external key to carry around. We looked for a solution that doesn’t force you to carry around an external key or finger print reader. Not being dependent or relying on anything – any situation – even in the dark – is something that we strived for with ZORE.
4) What is one regret you have since your startup’s inception?
Every company makes mistakes. No regrets yet. Whoever doesn’t act, makes a mistake.
5) Do you have any growth or sales statistics you’d like to share with our readers? Email signups? App installs?
We recently launched our Indiegogo campaign and have cleared our goal of $100,000. Additionally, we have many, many website visitors – many of them are signing up for the email to get the product to get notified when we release it for sale and other product notifications (now that Indiegogo is underway). Many people tell us – compared to other storage solutions – that our product is much more accessible and reliable than anything else on the gun market. People are very enthusiastic about it and are looking forward.
6) What is your future vision for the company? Any new products on the horizon?
The ZORE Watchdog is a notification device, whose sole purpose is to notify you if your gun is tampered with in any way. The future of our company is to produce ZORE locks for more calibers.
Additionally, long term, we are considering using our unique RAPIDial on safes.
7) Do you foresee any government or military involvement?
We are not looking for that – we hate regulation and don’t want to force our product on anyone. We believe in freedom. But we do believe that militaries have a huge interest in our product because they are looking for a better storage solution. In terms of regulation, we designed the product so that any potential legislation and regulation will be irrelevant.
8) One piece of advice for new startup companies?
To be focused in the beginning on the problem. You need to understand what the problem is and if people are willing to pay money to solve that problem. Many people have great technology but try to implement it in many industries, and maybe they solve a problem, but no one is willing to pay for it.
9) For fun: What website do you go to when you need to check if your internet is working?
10) One piece of advice for Startups #nofilter?
Make it funny. People like humor.