If a service like Safety Agent had been around in 2003, James Franco might never have been nominated for an Oscar in 2010 for his portrayal of doomed canyoneer Aron Ralston. Indeed, Ralston might never have had 127 hours in which to make his dramatic decision and there would be no movie at all.
Founded by CEO Joseph Granada and his wife and COO Jennifer Granada, Safety Agent aims to be an online buddy system for those adventurers out for some solo hiking or even just a blind date. At no cost to users, something that CEO Granada states will remain true even during future build-outs of the site, Safety Agent provides registered users with a profile linked to a web-based alert system that sends secure text and email messages to the user’s personal safety contacts if the user does not return from their event by the pre-determined time.
Having officially launched Phase I at the grassroots level this year, the idea for the site has been lingering in Granada’s brain for years. It was a conversation with a friend that initially sparked the idea — she had been participating in some online dating programs and found it intensely annoying to always be altering friends and family of her next date with a stranger, and subsequently alerting everyone as to the status of her love life. Though it was important to be safe and aware, she felt she had a right to privacy as well. Grenada began thinking “that there must be a way to be ‘anonymously safe’ and protect yourself in the event you do not return from an event or adventure”.
While it was a dating conversation that sparked the idea for Safety Agent, a real-life loss made it a mission. In September of 2008, a friend went missing while skiing alone. “Ultimately his death was ruled an accident and even with all of his safety gear and experience, he was not able to survive the fall and night exposed in the cold. There is no way of knowing if something like Safety Agent could have helped our friend, but it would have been incredibly beneficial to his partner and friends to be alerted and even locate him more quickly. This solidified the thoughts of how important it is for people to be personally responsible for their safety not only with the gear on their backs and their knowledge, but with the notification of friends and family when they have not returned from an event,” said Granada.
Currently partnered with NotionOne, and seeking partners for future growth, Safety Agent will begin generating revenue with the national launch of version 2.0 through a business model that monetizes the site’s live stream through corporate sponsorship. Version 2.0 also boasts Android and iPhone apps and will allow users the option of keeping their profiles private or sharing their events publically via a tweet-like 160 characters, in order to create social network global buddy system of exchanged information based on personal safety. When users share their events publically, explains Granada, “Safety Agent will reward them with discounts on the things they need to PLAY LIFE SAFE”.
Granada feels that services like Safety Agent are the next phase of social networking, “social networks must do more for people than just enabling them to tell the world what sandwich they’ve enjoyed. Safety Agent is the only social network that brings actionable results to users by empowering them with a personal safety net.”
A portion of all profits will be donated to volunteer Search & Rescue groups through the U.S., as well as Rescue Dog trainers, in the name of their fallen friend, in honor of whom they have named their safety news site, ShizoMe. To get the latest on Safety Agent, just check them out on Twitter @SafetyAgent or Facebook.