Undaunted Research’s new app makes personal safety a priority; helps you reach out to family and friends even if there is no network or internet connectivity.
It is 10pm and 33-year-old Laxmi Subrhamanian has just realised that she spent way more time on her presentation than she intended. Hastily yanking out wires and shutting her laptop, she grabs her bag in one hand, frantically books a cab with the other, and makes a hurried exit into the deserted street.
While waiting for her cab, Laxmi forwards messages of her whereabouts to her family at home. There is no doubt that platforms like Ola and Uber have made it convenient to hail a ride from any point, but they haven’t resolved the safety issues that many feel for their loved ones.
How do you solve this?
Though one can track the cab, it doesn’t offer easy solutions. It was to solve this problem that 27-year-old Nikhil Kumar started Undaunted Research, a startup that develops tech products to help make the world a safer place. Their new app, Don’t Fear, helps you reach out to your loved ones in life-threatening situations even if there’s no internet connectivity or network.
On installing the app, one needs to select and add phone numbers of close family and friends into the “trust list”. After this, you share the app link with those chosen family members and friends and ask them to add you to their trust list.
Explaining how the product works, Nikhil says,
Whenever you need to reach out to your loved one, you simply go to distress call window of the Don't Fear app and select the contact. That person will get your location directly downloaded from GPS satellite even if you or that person isn’t connected to internet. And that person’s phone will be set to general mode from DND mode or silent mode so that you can call them ASAP. This feature too doesn’t require the internet.
The idea, Nikhil adds, was to enforce a sense of safety in billions of people.
“Even phones that are shipped to India are not programmed to perceive 100 as an emergency number, but have 911 as an emergency number,” Nikhil says. The team knew their product had to be scalable, but with internet connectivity a big challenge they needed to build the product with an easy offline mechanism.
Their platform thus runs on SMS-based communication and downloads geolocation data directly from GPS satellites. “The technology to establish such a GSM-based communication is unique to us and is a patent,” Nikhil adds.
The core team, apart from Nikhil, comprises programmer Hitesh Patel, and designer Rahul Dambhale. The team has also roped in Reena Gupta, CEO and Founder of Avankia, a multimillion-dollar US-based software company, as their mentor. There are approximately 200 regular active users who use the app currently.
Currently bootstrapped, Undaunted Research is looking at B2B channels for monetisation.
A need for tracking and safety
With a growing number of complaints against drivers and delivery boys, and cases of people faking their CVs, startups today are looking at this as a big problem to solve. Some of the other players in the field include Better Place and Idfy.
The trio have all, at some point of time, tried to reach out to their loved ones either out of worry about their safety or to seek help, but found them unreachable.
Despite several tech platforms, there seemed to be limited focus on ensuring safety.
Even Locus, the logistics platform which raised funding from Blume Venture Partners, had started with safety tracking.
Speaking of future plans, Nikhil says, “We want to become pioneers in the personal safety space. We will ensure that every Indian and then every human is empowered enough to reach out for help in life-threatening situations even if help seems unreachable.”