Found In Town in the Wisconsin State Journal

//Found In Town in the Wisconsin State Journal

Found In Town in the Wisconsin State Journal

UW grad’s lost-and-found service expands to Madison

The lost-and-found bin will be smaller if an idea by a UW-Madison graduate takes off.

Zach Haller, a Minnesota native, has expanded his lost-and-found service into Madison. Haller, 28, who still works full time as a paralegal in Chicago, created Found in Town in 2011.

The service provides an easy way for people who find lost keys, cellphones and other valuables to contact the owner through a website —

Under Haller’s program, businesses such as bars, hotels and restaurants purchase identification kits at $2 each. The kits contain five stickers with unique serial numbers and a key chain with advertising from the business. Businesses give the kits to their customers at no charge but receive email addresses of registered users.

“I’m trying to make it easier for people to be Good Samaritans and for businesses to really watch out for their customers,” Haller said.

Other lost-and-found services exist but require users to spend $10 to $15 up-front and/or an annual user fee.

Haller, the sole owner of Found in Town, invested $40,000 to start the company and has applied for a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration that would fund a summer marketing campaign.

Haller has eight businesses in Chicago using his service. In Madison, Johnson Public House café, 908 E. Johnson St., started using the service last month.

Haller, who runs the business out of his Chicago home and has no employees, hopes to have 25 restaurants and four to five colleges using his service by the end of the year.

“It’s like a seat belt,” Haller said. “There’s no guarantee, but it can only help you.”