spotNsave is a wearable security device. With the click of a button, your friends can be alerted in case you are in any danger. The device consists of a Bluetooth wristband with a SOS button and an emergency app on your smartphone. The app can send location information to your friends in the event of an unfortunate incident.
YourStory spoke to Chirag Jagtiani of spotNsave. Here are the edited excerpts from the interview.
YS: Tell us a little more about yourself.
Chirag: I am originally from Taiwan, but I grew up in Africa, studied in India and am now working in China. I worked in India for two years before moving to China. I have over 10 years of experience in the telecom field. I have worked for companies like Philips, Dell, Accenture and Tough Shield. I’ve also stayed and worked in Europe for a year, and have travelled and worked extensively with mobile app partners and telecom providers in Asia, Middle East and Europe.
YS: What motivated you to start up?
Chirag: In 2005, someone I know was kidnapped while traveling overseas. That changed my entire life and since then I always wanted to do something related to personal security. I wanted to build a security device but didn’t know how to do it. Then, when I was working with Accenture, we were consulting for Boston Scientific for a global pacemaker device. The pacemaker was connected to a phone via Bluetooth and that’s when it struck me – if a heart can have a Bluetooth device why couldn’t a wrist have the same? That instilled the confidence to begin building something like spotNsave.
While living abroad, I would read of the increasing incidences of rape in the papers. The government would make tall claims about making cheap SOS phones that cost Rs 500. But the truth is, phones are expensive and not everyone can afford them. So I decided to make something economical that everyone could buy and use.
I began work in November 2012 in the city of Guangzhou and Hong Kong with a team of four.
YS: How was the transition from your job to entrepreneurship?
Chirag: Well, it’s always difficult to switch from a full-time high paying job to starting on your own, especially if you don’t have anyone funding your company or project. Also, I decided to quit right before I got married – a very brave decision according to everyone, a very big risk, in fact the biggest. But my wife and family supported my decision and have been my backbone through it all.
There are a lot of obstacles and hurdles when you start your own company, but you learn and you meet people and they help make the right decision and help you move forward. Sometimes I miss taking home a fixed income, but with spotNsave I know I will take home much more. I am doing a good thing and I know what I’ve sown will reap for sure.
YS: Tell us a little more about your venture and the product.
Chirag: spotNsave is an emergency app that lets you keep in touch with your family, friends, loved ones at all times. spotNsave tracks a user’s movement and sends location information to their guardian angel network. It also displays a user’s current location on Google Maps. In an emergency, all a user needs to do is “Double Click” the power button of their smartphone and an SoS is sent out to their guardian angel network every two minutes with their present and updated location via sms.
spotNsave is also designed to work with the wristband via Bluetooth. It is the only emergency app available in the market that connects to a wearable device. When you are in an unpleasant situation all you need to do is double click the button on your band and your guardian angels will be alerted with your location and every movement of yours until you cancel the SOS. If someone grabs you, or you fall – your first instinct is to look for your phone to inform your loved ones and seek help. Unlike other SOS applications, spotNsave allows you to use the band without having to look for your phone. With a double click on the band, notifications will be sent to your guardians and help will come to you. This ease of communication makes spotNsave different from other SOS apps in the market.
Currently, the bracelet and pendant are ready and the app for android is also ready. We are in the middle of developing the iOS and Windows version. We are adding a lot of exciting features that will blow your mind. We are taking the SOS app market to another level altogether. No one would have ever imagined that we could do something like this.
YS: What about product pricing?
Chirag: Our revenue model is very simple. For three months we are selling the devices for $27.99. They can be bought from our website or pre-ordered via indiegogo. From March 2014 onwards, the device will be sold at $36.99 but the user will have an option to pay the full amount upfront or pay a certain amount in advance and the balance in a four-month installment period.
YS: What market segment are you targeting?
Chirag: This is a global product since security is required by everyone.
My product is ideal for
- Women of any age
- Old Age Homes
- Construction Sites
- Any individual who wants to feel secure
spotNsave is primarily being sold based on word of mouth today with very little advertisement. We’ve already sold over a 100 bands with about 150 clean new app users. We recently also got reviewed by Mike Shouts. He randomly found my product and published on ibtimes!
YS: Have you received funding?
Chirag: Financing the venture has definitely been a challenge. We are a very small team – three technical guys with my wife doing the marketing and website design etc. We have met a lot of so-called ‘Angel investors’ that commit to backing but when it’s time, they show us their back! Additionally, I have recently launched an Indiegogo campaign for this.
YS: Where would you like to see spotNsave go in the near future?
Chirag: I want to take spotNsave to the top. I want it to be known as the best SOS app in the industry. I will be adding a lot of more features, taking security to the next level. With my new additions to the app I will also be filing for a patent. With the recently launched crowd funding campaign, I am hoping to get funding and sales that will allow me to hire more engineers and deliver the product faster.
YS: What are three principles that you believe to be vital for startup success?
Chirag: Stay Calm and focused. If you believe in your product, go for it don’t listen to anyone. And get your team right and work with the right people. You should have the ball in your court and not the other way around!