New Venture winners work with CMU to promote product, safety
Former New Venture winners Scrappy Technologies are in the final stages of working on bringing the Blue Light Emergency Phone service to your own mobile device.
The team is looking to secure a deal to get the app endorsed by Central Michigan University. The app, named Guarded, will function as a mobile version of the Blue Light phones, sending immediate alerts to campus police and emergency contacts in the user’s phone once activated.
The completion of the deal with CMU will mark the end of a year-long process for the Scrappy Tech members, who developed their app over the course of the 2016-17 academic year in the College of Business Administration’s New Venture Competition.
Scrappy Technologies consists of Canton seniors Bryan Caragay and Hailey Polidori. The business partnership between the two began shortly after they started dating during the summer after graduating from Plymouth High School.
Caragay originally a computer science major, began developing the app during his sophomore year, after Polidori took a night class that required her to walk home after dark during the week.
On March 24, the day of the New Venture Competition, Scrappy Technologies won the $10,000 Best Tech Venture award, the $1,000 judge's choice award and a $250 audience choice award for the pitches for their app.
Their plan was to charge students for using the Guarded app, but the Scrappy team decided to make the service free for CMU students when they thought about what kind of service they wanted to provide to the campus community.
“We want students to feel safe on campus, and we don’t think that’s something they should have to pay for,” Polidori said.
Guarded can be downloaded for free from the App Store by anybody with a “cmich.edu” email address. Now that a completed version of the app is available on campus, the team is working with CMU to develop a plan to promote it through the university, Polidori said.
Promotion efforts for Guarded include presenting the app to high school students when they tour campus, and promoting the app during MainStage and orientation events.
The team is also looking to have student ambassadors promote Guarded by setting up tables in the Bovee University Center, handing out merchandise like T-shirts and sunglasses to reward those who download the app.
“In the immediate future, we’ll be focusing on downloads,” Caragay said. “The more people who download it, and the more people who like it, the better our chances of reaching other organizations will be. It’s really about expanding and getting our name out there – We’re hoping to become the new standard safety app for college campuses.”
Scrappy has reached out to the Epsilon Nu Tau entrepreneurship fraternity chapter at Texas State University to begin negotiating promotion for the long-term reach of their product. Scrappy has also contacted a handful of other Michigan universities to spread word of their product. Payment for the service will be required for downloaders outside of CMU.
Caragay and Polidori are unsure how their imminent graduation will affect their business plans. Not seeing themselves content with typical corporate jobs, the pair is open to moving forward with the Guarded app full-time if it proves to be financially viable within the next year.