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Exclusive: Black-led Telecoms Firm Inks Major ‘Black History Month’ Deal with Best Buy

Michael_Pratt-Founder_Pivet

A Texas-based telecommunications startup has sealed a groundbreaking deal with Best Buy to create a limited-edition of cell phone cases to celebrate the historical achievements of African Americans.

The Pivet Communications product line will be available throughout Black History Month 2020 at Best Buy – the largest consumer electronics retailer in the United States.

The exclusive range of cases is designed to be both educational and inspirational. The ultra-thin handcrafted cases feature influential black figures and images — Rosa Parks, the Sankofa bird, and two African American inventors, Lewis Latimer and Garrett Morgan.

“We are here today because of the brilliant and innovative people who came before,” said Michael Pratt, Pivet Communications founder. “Black History Month is a celebration of their achievements and an acknowledgment that their story isn’t over. It lives on through us so that our actions have the ability to inspire the next generation.”

Each case has been designed to celebrate African American trailblazers. The iconic and transformative Rosa Parks represents belief and defiance in the face of inequality. Sankofa is a symbol of looking to our past to know who we are today. Lewis Latimer and Garrett Morgan are both hugely impactful inventors that many people “probably don’t know about.”

Pivet Communications_Best Buy Partnership_iPhone 11 -glacier + pro

 

“It’s my hope that people enjoy the designs and also choose to learn some really cool American history about technology we use today,” said Pratt. “If we don’t understand the contributions of those who came before us, we limit our abilities to go forward.”

Marissa McCall, a Best Buy merchant analyst, said the nationwide U.S. retailer is thrilled with the outcome. “They designed a beautiful product,” she said. A portion of the phone case sales will benefit The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC.

“We are here today because of the brilliant and innovative people who came before. Black History Month is a celebration of their achievements and an acknowledgment that their story isn't over. It lives on through us so that our actions have the ability to inspire the next generation.”

The Pivet Black History Month case range utilizes Pivet’s Glacier + Pro Luna case and will support iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. At just 2mm, the case is one of thinnest on the market.

“I’ve spent time learning all of who I am and where I’ve come from,” Pratt said. “I take extreme pride in my background because I have knowledge of self, and that’s given me the confidence to take risks that have led to the successes I’ve enjoyed so far.”

 

Pivet Communications is one of few black-owned companies in the U.S. consumer electronics space. Industry heavyweight Pratt built his newly launched company from the ground up after 20 years of experience in the telecoms industry. Pratt’s track record includes building consumer electronics brands and providing expert service to Tier 1 Operators such as T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and British Telecom across North America, Western Europe, Southeast Asia, and China.

Pratt’s ongoing relationship with Best Buy spans almost fifteen years. “As a distributor, I had a great opportunity to learn all about supply chain and how a product goes from concept to market — including Best Buy shelves,” he said.

Once Pratt launched his venture, he reached out to his connections. “I was trying to figure out who could actually help Pivet bring disruptive tech to market, and Best Buy was an obvious choice,” said Pratt. “I think our partnership works because Best Buy is disruptive in its own right. It’s a company known for taking risks on new ideas, partners and products.” Pratt is in talks with Best Buy to extend the partnership with new designs.

This new deal is six months in the making after Pratt approached contacts at Best Buy with the proposal. “We [black Americans] spend over a trillion dollars a year as consumers. We are over-indexing on products in electronics stores. We are into tech. We are social media savvy, Black Twitter, I think, drives 26% of American Twitter behavior.”

The barbershop holds a special place in the African American community. Pivet founder, Michael Pratt, knew there was no better place to have a real discussion about Black History Month

Launched in 2018, Pratt founded Pivet as a response to the lack of innovation and multicultural focus in the consumer electronics industry. 2020 is set to be a defining year for the brand, thanks in part to the Best Buy partnership and Pivet’s upcoming global product launch at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month.

At its core, Pivet introduces innovative and sometimes never-before-seen tech products to store shelves. The team is currently working on innovative charging solutions. They are also developing a disruptive product called Pivet Zero, which is said to the first plastic phone case that will be able to breakdown with zero footprint.

“Essentially your phone case has an expiration date. It becomes a perishable good,” said Pratt. “In three years, your Pivet Zero case will turn into simple carbon dioxide, liquid, as well as an organic material that can be consumed by decomposing agents like algae, or if it’s in a landfill, bacteria. It’s a truly zero-footprint product.”

Pivet Zero is expected to be available in Best Buy stores later this spring. “Like all African Americans, I come from a culture that is historically connected with the earth,” said Pratt. “So as Pivet develops disruptive tech, it’s important that what we create is kind to the environment.”

Pivet is headquartered in Austin, Texas, with design locations in the UK and New Zealand. Its manufacturing, engineering, and logistics bases are in the UK, U.S., and China. The company’s mission is to create products and messaging that disrupts and pivots the consumer electronics industry with new technologies, new products, and new ways of doing business. At its core is a vision to better serve multicultural audiences.

Main Image: Pivet Founder and Owner Michael Pratt courtest of Best Buy

Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter@Kunbiti

 

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Kunbi Tinuoye
Kunbi Tinuoye
Kunbi Tinuoye is the founder and CEO of UrbanGeekz. Previously, she worked as a News Correspondent for NBC’s theGrio. Prior, she was a senior broadcast journalist for the BBC in London. Tinuoye currently sits on the SXSW Pitch Advisory Board and CES Conference Advisory Board. She is a key player in the Atlanta tech startup ecosystem and serves as a mentor for Comcast NBCUniversal’s The Farm Accelerator. Tinuoye has received several awards and accolades, including being honored with a Resolution from the Georgia Legislative.
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