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Forget Rice: Staples Teams With TekDry To Save Soaked Smartphones

Staples is expanding its partnership with TekDry, a water-damage recovery service for mobile phones, from 82 to 600 stores.

The $70 service employs a patented water-removal device that uses a combination of low pressure, controlled heat and proprietary metallic beads to vaporize 100 percent of the water in dunked phones in 30 minutes or the fee is refunded.

The process, which has a 75 percent success rate, preserves data, stays within common manufacturer specifications, doesn’t require device disassembly, and is more affordable than replacement costs, the partners said.

The service is located within Staples’ mobile phone repair sections and is also available for other products, including small items like key fobs ($40) and larger devices like laptops and Blu-ray/DVD players ($100).

 “We understand our customers need quick and effective solutions for mobile phone repair,” said Peter Scala, merchandising executive VP for the No. 1 office-supply chain. “We’re thrilled to team up with TekDry to make Staples the largest retailer that offers a risk- and hassle-free option to repair water-damaged mobile phones so our customers can get up and running quickly while preserving personal data. The expansion of TekDry to more Staples stores ensures that our customers will have quick and easy access to this tech saving solution.”

TekDry was co-founded by Denver engineers and business school grads Craig Beinecke and Adam Cookson, who were inspired by a classmate who dropped her phone in a toilet. Beinecke said some 22 million phones are destroyed each year by accidental dunkings and washing machine encounters.

The entrepreneurs recently pitched their product on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in pursuit of $500,000 in expansion funding — which they received from celebrity investor Kevin O’Leary in exchange for a 5 percent cut.