Commercial real estate business owner and broker Dustin Sutton has some fore-ward thinking that he believes may change the world of golf.
Sutton’s vision is to create augmented reality enhanced smart glasses designed and tailored for golfers. The prototype is currently in the engineering and development phase, leveraging the expertise of product development firms and technology partners as his company, RangEZ, Inc., prepares to produce a high-quality, market-ready product.
Sutton said the company, less than a year old, is aiming to launch its first product by the end of 2024, strategically timing it around the holiday season to maximize impact and reach.
RangEZ smart glasses will offer several benefits, Sutton said, including providing real-time, hands-free access to vital course data, insights and analytics; enhancing gameplay strategy; and integrating seamlessly with the user’s experience.
“Our mission is to revolutionize the golfing experience by integrating cutting-edge technology directly into the player’s field of view,” Sutton said. “By merging technology and sport, we aim to create a more immersive and informed golfing experience.”
RangEZ’s primary market includes golf enthusiasts and professionals worldwide – more than 80 million potential users.
“We aim to attract golfers who seek a competitive edge and are interested in integrating technology into their play, enhancing both strategy and enjoyment,” Sutton said.
While the company has not finalized any outside investments yet, Sutton said that the goal is to finance RangEZ through private equity and venture capital funding. The process of engaging with potential investors will begin in earnest, he said, as the company further develops its prototype and business strategy.
Sutton, a La Jolla resident who owns Sutton Real Estate Advisors, recalled when the idea sparked — on the day he was out with friend and a couple of colleagues for a round of golf on the Goat Hill Park Golf Course in Oceanside.
“As we played, I noticed the varied methods we used to gauge distances,” he said. “My friend employed a rangefinder, while I relied on an app, all of us donning sunglasses under the sun. This observation led me to question, ‘Is there a pair of golf sunglasses that can display this data directly on the lenses?’ Intrigued by the idea of combining convenience and technology, I envisioned a product that none of us had seen or heard of before.”
Sutton said he embarked on extensive research to discover if such a product existed, and finding none, he said he began assembling a technical plan, laying out a business strategy and connecting with industry and technology experts.
“Over the past seven months, this journey has transformed from a mere idea into a tangible pursuit,” he said. “I’ve achieved a preliminary design, secured a provisional patent, established a C-corp, and engaged with a part-time CFO to guide the financial structure. Now, I’m moving forward full steam, diving into the development of the prototype with a clear vision and determined spirit.”
SDSI Playing a Role
Sutton is working with Buchalter, a law firm aiding in corporate setup, intellectual property, and leveraging their sports specialty division. He has also teamed up with local nonprofit San Diego Sport Innovators, the business development organization focused on sports and lifestyle industries as part of its Gateway program, which takes business knowledge from concept to the real world.
Sutton was connected last October to SDSI mentor JB Morch, director of U.S. Operations for outerspace design, a product design and engineering consultancy based in Melbourne, Australia.
“Dustin and I discussed the technical aspects of his product idea, but also the steps that would be required to get from an idea to a product,” Morch said. “We talked about making sure that the product was simple, lovable and complete. We discussed the need for technical expertise on his team, solid market analysis, and planning a phased project that would start with uncovering the risks of his idea and making sure those were solvable with today’s technology.”
Morch said that Sutton, “like all first-time entrepreneurs,” needed information about what it takes to develop a hardware product, “and he had the wisdom to seek out experts in the areas where he had less experience.”
Morch said he is optimistic for Sutton’s business prospects, and that while the product idea is technically challenging, it solves a very common problem for recreational golfers.
“Not only that, with a successful product launch, there is a lot of potential for future upgrades, value-added features, and even expansion into other sports and outdoor activities,” Morch said, adding that outerspace is “prepared to quote design services in a phased approach that will start with a market and user analysis, and could progress all the way to hardware and electronics design, and transferring a complete product design package to a contract manufacturer.”
Sutton has been working in real estate since 2008. He said that throughout his career in San Diego, he was struck by the glaring lack of diversity in commercial real estate, and in 2020, amid national conversations on racial justice, he founded the Black Commercial Real Estate Network to connect Black professionals in the field.
Starting from a modest group, it quickly grew to over 1,000 members nationwide, and recently became a 501-c3 non-profit.
“This journey with BCREN proved to me the power of an idea and the impact of collective effort,” Sutton said.
He said he has also ventured into technology as a side project, creating Portalview Inspections, an app to simplify property inspections. His tech interests further evolved when he joined a Series-A tech company in 2022 to help develop their commercial real estate product.
Sutton said that to date, RangEZ has been primarily bootstrapped, with commitments from friends and family to provide initial capital and resources.
“We’re positioned to expand our funding sources as we move into more substantial development and market preparation phases,” he said. “We are anticipating launching a pre-seed funding round in early 2024 to accelerate our development, finalize our product prototype and begin go-to-market strategies.”
FOUNDER & CEO: Dustin Sutton
HEADQUARTERS: La Jolla
BUSINESS: Wearable tech
CONTACT: email@example.com; 858-349-9797
SOCIAL IMPACT: Dustin Sutton is on the board of directors for the SD Center for Children and is a mentor for Promises To Kids; founder of nonprofit Black Commercial Real Estate Network.
NOTABLE: Sutton’s other job is owner of Sutton Real Estate Advisors, where he has managed $3 billion worth of assets through 15 years