When Buddy Watch won AngelHack Silicon Valley last year, I wasn’t sure that it was really happening. Seven Red Bulls into my first hackathon, I thought I might be hallucinating.
How times have changed.
This morning we launched a Kickstarter campaign for Buddy Watch, and after a year of the startup grind, I have a lot more clarity following the all-nighter.
That’s not the only thing that’s changed. Buddy Watch is a smart personal safety application that automatically detects and responds to emergencies no matter where you are, even if you can’t reach your phone. No hardware required. I went into the hackathon knowing that I wanted to build a smarter application of a dead-man switch so that people in the middle of an emergency didn’t have to unlock their phones and hit a panic button. What we have now is much more sophisticated. We use GPS and accelerometer data to look for a series of triggers that actually tell us if you’re having an emergency.
Winning AngelHack was a wakeup call that I was far from the only person out there that thought about this pain-point regularly. Over the last year I’ve gone from having essentially no product or development experience, and a very limited knowledge of the startup ecosystem to really living up to my Silicon Valley roots.
— Hannah Rosenfeld (@HannahRosenfeld) August 20, 2015
I’ve also learned a lot about the world of personal safety by making myself into an expert by brute force and persistence. I’ve met with more than a dozen police departments, over 2,000 potential users, and actually advised the University of Virginia Safety Committee on their new safety tech. Buddy Watch is a truly groundbreaking app because we developed it by talking to all the stakeholders and considering each individual in context. We looked at both the forest and the trees. After finally graduating from college, I started working on Buddy Watch full time in May and my partner Shruti Patel joined me in June. This kickstarter is our first big move as a new team. It’s intended to fund us through alpha and beta testing all the ways to launch.
To honor our hackathon roots I’m putting together a “How to Hack a Hackathon” e-guide, on how to hone in on the right idea for the right event, gather a good team, stay motivated, give a stellar demo, and follow-up after winning. It’s one of many awesome things that we’re only offering through this kickstarter! The first 100 backers will get exclusive access to our Alpha, and everyone else who joins the community through the campaign will get access to the Beta!
I love being a part of the AngelHack community, and I look forward to having more AngelHackers as part of our own Buddy Watch community!
Guest Post by Buddy Watch CEO, Hannah Rosenfeld