With support from Invest Northern Ireland, a new Newry company has developed and brought to market a smart phone application to help parents monitor their children’s phone use.
Kallsafe was set up last year to market and sell the technology which tracks and controls smart phones and provides real time alerts as defined by the parent.
Functionality includes blocking the phone from receiving or sending texts between certain hours, monitoring photos sent and received, and options to alert the parent that their child is texting while driving.
Invest NI has offered £98,765 of support to help the company to set up, carry out research and development on the product and launch it in the US and UK markets. The support is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
The company, which has been set up by Mark Rothwell-Brooks, plans to create 15 jobs by the end of 2014.
Mark Bleakney, Manager of Invest NI’s Southern Regional Office, says: “This is a product with substantial global potential and valuable intellectual property and it was important that it moved quickly to market to give the company a competitive edge. Invest NI’s support enabled the company to launch the product within six months of setting up.”
Through a subscription service the company is offering two solutions: KallsafeSocial and KallsafeMobile. KallsafeSocial is all about keeping children safe from unwelcome attention, inappropriate texting or cyber bullying, while KallsafeMobile can monitor where the child is and allow a parent to send an emergency message to their child’s phone.
Newry was chosen as the location for the start-up because of the can-do attitude of the people, says Mark Rothwell-Brooks. “We wanted something new, an alternative outlook. There’s a hunger to achieve here in Newry, to prove that great things can be done and done well.
“Having spent most of my career in London, I’ve found the place getting a bit too cynical and the West Coast venture capitalists don’t want to invest in anything other than China. We’ve found the help we’ve received from Invest NI invaluable. They listened to what we want to achieve, given us an alternative viewpoint, bought into it and are helping us make it happen. What more does a start-up need?”