Surc: Universal iPhone Remote Approved by Apple

WHAT: Software and hardware that make your iPhone a universal remote for all of your electronic devices. The Apple-certified Surc case acts as a bridge to other electronic devices by adding infrared capabilities to the iPhone so it can run a whole suite of home entertainment devices with the tap or swipe of the screen. The Surc app contains a database of electronic codes to pair your electronics, or it can be programed manually by pointing Surc at your remote for your devices remote and then tapping the corresponding buttons on the devices. The Surc app can be customized a variety of ways from style and layout of the remote to using swipes or buttons as controls.

Surc owners can also share remotes they have programmed with their friends and the greater Surc community when they add a device that is not currently coded in the Surc database.

LAUNCHERS: Daphna Kalman, CEO, designed multimedia marketing campaigns for the IMF, World Bank Group and the American Cancer Society; Brian Fough, VP; Ramy Isaac, CTO; Lee Golan, VP of development; and Michail Kalman, board chairman.

WHY: People have too many electronics that rely on infrared technology and an assortment of remotes to go with them. You can condense them down to a universal remote, but they can be expensive and difficult to program. It would be easier if you could just use your iPhone.   

WHEN/WHERE: June 30 / Washington D.C.

BACKSTORY: Daphna's father, Michail Kalman, was tired of having so many different remotes for all of his devices, but he didn't want to pay the $300+ for Logitech's Harmony device. Instead, he asked his cousin, Ramy Isaac, an engineer, to create a remote for him that could work with the iPhone.

"As my dad likes to say, he didn't want to pay $300, but he ended up spending thousands developing surc," Daphna says.

Surc went into development over the course of the next year and a half.

THE CASE FOR A CASE: "I think that it can be negative and positive," Daphna says. "IR is everywhere, as much as people say it will go away, IR isn't going anywhere for a while. People purchase cases for their devices … and spend around $30 for a case, but with Surc you get something that does a whole lot more. I don't really feel like if they had a case, they would say 'Why would they need another? I have ten remotes. People will like this much better. We do want to address people who don't want a case. We are looking into bluetooth, that all phones have, so that's something, we would like to meet the needs of everybody, and connect to all things."

BUSINESS MODEL: Retail sale of the Surc case, $74.95.

COMPETITION: Remote makers: Logitech, ThinkFlood. Apps: Joypad, Dijit. Television manufacturers: Sony, Toshiba and other WiFi enabled television sets and devices.

ON APPLE MADE FOR iPHONE CERTIFICATION PROCESS: "We wanted to make sure it didn't interfere with normal phone calls and was not intrusive to Apple's inherent functionality," Daphna says. "We are actually using pieces that are strictly sold by Apple resellers that sell certain Apple chips we required to use...I think it would have have been worse if we had not gone through Apple's process. We really went by the book. It had to be designed a certain way and get approved. It's a lot of oversight, but for us, it's Apple, we will do anything it takes for them. It makes it a better product because they are so stringent. It wasn't negative in any way, if anything it helped make the product better."

WHO BACKED IT: KIMA Ventures in France, Michail Kalman.

TOTAL RAISED: $200K in seed round, looking to prepare for A/B round of $500K to $1M.


Surc has its own YouTube channel where multiple videos instruct owners how to pair their remotes, add and delete buttons, organize their remote layout, backup their remote information and other tips that are easier to understand than a paper manual.

To pair buttons from your remote to your Surc app you just need to face the devices and tap the button you would like to pair on your iPhone and the button on your remote.

Using the Surc App, users can organize their remotes by room.

Surc's device search function allows users to program their phone to control different devices by selecting the brand followed by the type. If a user manually programs a device not in the database they can upload it to the Surc community to create an ever expanding database of codes.

The Surc remote is fully customizable. Users can select a base template or add and remove buttons for controls as they see fit, and organize them on the screen. Surc also supports gestures and allows users to add swiping functions.

The Surc app also features TV listings and users can change the channel by selecting


1. "Universal Remotes: Not Remotely Possible" (New York Times, Jan. 19, 2011)

2. The Uncertain Future of the Remote Controls in the Living Room (Tested, Oct. 8, 2010)


Twitter: @GetSurc 

Daphna Kalman
Email: Daphna at MashedPixel dot com

Twitter: @dkdc77  

Brian Fough

Ramy Isaac
Twitter: @ramy55

Michail Kalman
Twitter: @dafnordad