I hate to admit this, but I started my day on Facebook.
I know, I know. It’s a workday.
But as I mindlessly scrolled through my news feed something amazing happened. There, sandwiched between a friend’s wedding photos and a Buzzfeed article about McDonald’s food hacks, was this:
Even though the name wasn’t included in the article headline, I knew it had to be about Companion—the personal safety app. Companion allows your friends to virtually walk you home, and notifies them if you stray from your intended route.
I immediately jumped in on Slack and shared the post with our team. We started madly refreshing the page. All of us watched as the post climbed… 400,000 views… 500,000…
Before we knew it, the post had racked up more than 3,000,000 views—and just on Business Insider! The app was also featured on Cosmpolitan and The Today Show. With all the press, Companion was quickly conquering App Store.
You can imagine the stress it had on the Companion servers.
Sure, we were piqued to see an app with a social purpose being picked up by so many great news sites—but there’s a special reason why I was excited to see Companion getting the press it deserves.
You see, last year, our friend Danny Freed (one of the founders of Companion) came to us to help develop his app idea.
Over the past few years we’ve been able to help aspiring entrepreneurs turn their ideas into real apps, but with Danny there was something different.
Granted, Companion is an app that no one really wants to have to build.
It solves a problem that so many of us want to ignore: that the world can be a violent and scary place, and that there are times where every single one of us has felt vulnerable.
When Danny and his team came to us, it was because they’d seen those headlines and experienced that fear, personally.
In a blog post about the origins of the company, Danny talks about the rampant increase of crime alerts on his own campus at the University of Michigan.
He knew something had to change.
Companion was made out of a desire to help protect every person and give them piece of mind whether they’re walking across campus or home from work.
The app allows you to select where you’re going and the route you’ll be taking. It then sends your friends a notification, giving them the ability to track your trip. If anything seems to go off course, Companion checks in with you. So if you don’t confirm your arrival, your selected friends will be alerted, and the local police can quickly be notified.
Danny and his team had an awesome idea and some serious design chops, however, they needed a little help with the development of the app.
Here’s a look at the Companion creation process (you can read the full story here).
The very beginning of Companion.
Getting closer to a final design.
Your personal safety device, ready to go.
We are so excited to see Companion going viral. The attention couldn’t have come to a better group of people.
It’s incredible to see an app that’s doing real social good get the press it deserves. It reminds us that our smartphones aren’t just for mindless entertainment or communication, but that they can make real changes to the way we live.
So congratulations, Danny and the Companion team! We’re so happy to have played a small part in your journey.