By John Guydon
When a child is abducted, it’s a race against time to find them.
Right now it takes hours to alert a community about a missing child; we think it should take seconds. That’s why Lassy Project was created. Lassy Project is a free smartphone app that gives parents and guardians the ability to notify an entire local community about their missing child in seconds.
With the single push of a button parents can send a pre-AMBER alert via text message and mobilize a trusted group of family, friends and neighbors to form an instant search and rescue team should their child ever go missing. The text alert will include the child’s picture, last known location and other vital information that will help find the child quickly.
This past month, Lassy Project had the great honor of being featured in the IBM New Way To Start Up competition to better define our business model and gain valuable knowledge from their experts. When we first arrived in Austin, TX, for the competition we didn’t quite know what to expect; but the experience transformed our thinking and has truly given us a new way to start up.
Throughout the various challenges, we learned how to harness the power of social media to gain valuable exposure for Lassy Project and missing children. With the advice of social media experts Brian Fanzo and Chelsea Krost, we were able to garner over 500K social media impressions in just 24 hours. With guidance from the Butler brothers, we learned how to utilize data gained from Watson Analytics to clarify that mothers are our target users and the catalyst for our success. That’s an extra layer of insights that can help us better position ourselves in the marketplace.
We had the privilege to pair up with Brett Hurt, his daughter Rachel, and Tom Meredith to learn how we can clearly communicate the financial details of our business. We also gained critical advice from David Heath on how to create meaningful partnerships and articulate our business model and value proposition. During the competition, we even forged a partnership with the Austin Police Association and the Austin Police Department making them the 16th police department endorsing our company.
What we learned at Lassy Project through our IBM New Way To Start Up experience, is that time really is money. The longer we wait to start searching for a child, the larger the search area becomes which requires more resources and decreases the chances of finding the child. With Lassy Project, we radically reduce the amount of time it takes to begin search and rescue efforts, which reduces resources needed, and increases the chances that the child will be found safely. When it comes to a missing child, every second counts. We are incredibly grateful to IBM and the entire New Way To Start Up team.
Lassy Project is creating the world’s largest network of community members that reinforce safety and bring peace of mind to all parents and guardians. We are literally changing the world by protecting our future of great artists, entrepreneurs, and leaders – our children. Join us today.
More on IBM’s New Way to Startup Competition:
Lassy Project was one of five startups that lived in a house together for five days in April during IBM’s New Way To Startup April Accelerator. The teams competed in daily challenges on topics such as design thinking, rapid prototyping, A/B testing, and closing a sale. The teams rethought their paradigms using Watson Analytics and collaborated with co-workers back home using IBM Verse. Teams also had the help of VIP experts and a “dream team” of up to four mentors as they completed each of the challenges. Following a period of social voting, which runs from now through June 15, the winner will be announced on July 1st. Stay tuned for the latest reality “webisodes” published ibm.com/newwaytostartup over the summer to reveal amazing entrepreneurial breakthroughs, collaboration, and a hefty dose of inspiration and follow #NewWayToWork on Twitter.
Also, don’t forget to sign up for the technology that fueled the webisodes at ibm.com/Verse and ibm.com/WatsonAnalytics.