High-tech rave kandi

Kaytlynne Deardorf

Photo by Vic Cantu

Chico State senior Kaytlynne Deardorf is only 22, but she’s already built up quite a résumé. She founded Club Oroville Volleyball (a league for Oroville high school girls), and makes money selling clothing online. She also loves raves—those large, all-night dance gatherings filled with electronic music, spectacular lighting and flamboyant costumes. A missed connection at one rave prompted her to found PLUR Technologies, a company that makes digital bracelets based on kandi beads exchanged at raves, and creates apps to help those who meet there keep in touch and form lasting friendships. Deardorf has received several awards for PLUR Tech, and recently was the first Chico State entry to make it to the semifinals of the National Student Startup Madness Competition. Though she didn’t progress to the finalist round, she’s not letting that stop her. She’s still creating the apps and will soon launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund them. She’s enlisted the help of fellow students Kyle Eiras for financing, Amanda Chisholm in marketing, and Abdullah Almakhloog in engineering. Find her online at PLURTech.com, on Facebook (“PLUR Tech”) or email her at kaytlynne@plurtech.com.

What does PLUR stand for?

Peace, love, unity and respect. It’s a common saying many ravers live by.

What prompted you to start PLUR Tech?

I was at a rave in Wisconsin, conducting a short kandi-trading ceremony with a new raver girl. “Kandi” are friendship bracelets made of poly beads with personal phrases on them. Lots of people get extremely excited when trading kandi, and this girl was so happy she started crying. My phone’s battery was dead and hers was with someone else, so we couldn’t get each other’s info and I never got to see her again. At raves hardly anyone’s phone works because there are often thousands trying to use them, and the signals overload the system. I thought it would be cool to find her some way, somehow. I realized the kandi we all trade could be the way we track each other!

Can you describe your products?

We have charms to hang on kandi bracelets that have your info embedded, including all the people who have traded that bracelet, and where. We also have a digital wrist band called “Electric Kandi” that scans the charms and will tell you all about your “PLUR family,” the people who’ve traded that bracelet, and who is performing. It will also have a “panic” button to alert others if you are in trouble. It will use GPS and RFID chips to tell you where members of your PLUR family are within that rave, because it’s so easy to lose track. The hardware is done, but designing the apps is extremely complex and expensive, so we are looking for help with that.

What’s in your near future?

I’ll be graduating in entrepreneurship this spring and really want to focus on PLUR Technologies. It’s been fun, but very challenging, doing things like traveling to Las Vegas for meetings and presentations four times in the past two months.