Ethan Smith of Zoozler sat down for a chat with David, the founder and CEO of the college campus safety app, Whistle, to learn a little more about what keeps the innovative entrepreneur motivated.
Why did you decide to be an entrepreneur?
I don’t think that being an entrepreneur is something you can just wake up and do. It’s almost this inherent passion that drives you to pour all of your energy into your work. If you can’t commit everything, and dedicate yourself to doing whatever it takes, you’re not setting yourself up for success – you either quit or keep going. What really pushed me to create Whistle was seeing the amount of sexual assault and violence on college campuses. One specific story about a young college student who was on a jog and was sexually assaulted, then killed, brought me to tears, just thinking about that poor woman, and then her dad having to deal with what happened to her while at she was at her university – and that’s when I decided someone needed to create a solution.
What keeps you going if you lose motivation?
My motivation comes from everything I’ve done to get Whistle to where it is now. From the vision, to the tech and business, I’ve learned how to do it all by myself – I even deleted my own programmer’s GitHub and learned to code myself. I kept going through every obstacle because I knew no one else was going to do it for me, and I needed to help create a better alternative to the blue light emergency phones that were invented over 25 years ago. My goal is to save people from going through traumatic experiences by being the ‘blue phone’ in your pocket.
So what’s next?
I have a vision to be in the pocket of every college student. If a student is worried they’re being followed, or they’re afraid to walk to their car alone at night, they can press a button and have someone come help them out. Whistle is providing an effective solution to on-campus emergency phones, while letting off-campus events remain safe too. We can save reputations and lives by implementing our app across campuses. Using technology as old as blue light emergency phones is not effective, and does not prevent assault, or promote accessibility. The chance that someone would be assaulted near a blue phone, or be able to stick around after they called is pretty slim.
Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
To succeed in anything you do, you need to always bring passion. If you aren’t passionate about your ideas, how do you plan on truly making an impact? You have to be willing to put everything on the line for your idea – if it’s risking your reputation, or just runs the risk of failure, you still need to be willing to take a chance. Other entrepreneurs in Cincinnati sincerely want to see everyone succeed, we really thrive on it, it’s exciting. You just have to remember that to stand out, you can’t stand in – you have to pave your own lane and carry out your vision.
For more information on Whistle, visit mywhistleapp.com.
Whistle is fighting sexual assault across college campuses, and has enlisted the help of Zoozler to rebuild their mobile app and website.
Cincinnati, OH – June 20, 2017 – Imagine walking home from class late at night and you’re all alone. You notice someone has been trailing you for a few blocks, but you brush it off. After a few more blocks, the panic begins to set in – you’re being followed and you don’t know what to do.
This unfortunate situation could happen to anyone, but Whistle plans to fight back against sexual assault. By connecting nearby college students at the press of a button, to other nearby users of the app, no student using Whistle will have to worry about being sexually assaulted or jumped on their way home.
Whistle is teaming up with Zoozler to release a new mobile app and website to promote safety and community. Using the app, you will be able to tap a single button and “whistle” to anyone nearby who also has the Whistle app downloaded. This will provide the “whistler’s” real-time location and allow for peers to come to the rescue, or check to make sure the situation is under control.
David Groomes, founder and CEO of Whistle, recounts: “My wife, a student at the University of Cincinnati, was receiving emails warning everyone about crime around campus, and that’s when I had the idea for Whistle. Your phone is on you at almost all times of the day, so why not create an app that you can quickly summon help with?”
Once David came up with the initial idea, he needed to know if people would be interested in an app like Whistle. Taking a look at statistics, he learned that approximately 2,240,000 college students are sexually assaulted each year. David walked around UC’s campus for an hour asking students and their families if they would be interested in Whistle – he left with an astonishing 100 email sign-ups. He even noted that parents were signing up for more information because it would help them feel safer knowing their student had an option if they needed help.
Now, with the help of Zoozler, Whistle will help universities and students take the proper steps toward safer campuses, and a more connected community.
You can sign up to be a beta tester on Whistle’s website here.
For further information regarding this release, please contact: