Company: SafetyWeb


Business Idea: Create a Web-based service that helps parents protect their children’s online reputation, privacy, and safety.

Pitch: Parents worry about their kids’ online activity. Cyberbullying, sexual predators stalking children, and the exchange of offensive language and photos are just a few of the online hazards to which children today are commonly exposed. Parents are also aware that their kids can post something online, such as an inappropriate photo, which may hurt them in the future. An increasing number of potential employers, for example, search a job candidate’s online activities before making a job offer. SafetyWeb is a subscription service that helps monitor kids’ online activity. It doesn’t invade their privacy or snoop in clever ways. Instead, it simply scans for and aggregates the information that a child or teenager has publicly placed online. It’s the same information that parents could find themselves, if they had the time and expertise. SafetyWeb simply automates the search process by using its proprietary software and system. Here’s how it works. At the SafetyWeb Web site, a parent can get a free sample report by entering a child’s e-mail address. The sample report lists all social networking accounts associated with that address, and notes which are public accounts and which have been correctly configured as private. To get more in-depth information and enable real-time monitoring, a subscription must be purchased. The base rate is $100 per year or $10 per month. SafetyWeb tracks hundreds of different social CHAPTER 4 WRITING A BUSINESS PLAN 139 YOU BE THE VC 4.2 Company: PharmaJet Web: Business Idea: Administer injections using a needle-free injection system. Pitch: Administering injections is an integral part of both preventative health care and the treatment of sickness and disease. Traditional injections use a needle to penetrate the patient’s skin and insert the vaccine or medicine. While this has been a staple practice in medicine for decades, it has drawbacks. Patients of all ages have a fear of needles, and for some the fear is so acute they avoid necessary injections. Needles are problematic for health care workers. Their sharp points require special containers to dispose of safely, and all health care workers worry about receiving an inadvertent needle “stick,” which may contaminate them with someone else’s blood and as a result, potentially someone else’s disease. In one fell swoop, PharmaJet addresses these problems with the development of a simple, safe needle-free injection system that’s cleared for sale in the United States. Instead of using a needle, it delivers intramuscular or subcutaneous injections through a high velocity fluid jet that penetrates the skin in one-third of a second. The device is spring powered, so there are no gas canisters to dispose of. Many of the earlier iterations of needleless syringes used bottled gas to power the syringe, which was costly and cumbersome. The PharmaJet system is environmentally friendly in that two of its four parts are consumable and the other two are reused. The consumable components consist of the needle-free syringe and a filling adaptor. The reusable components consist of the injector and a reset station. The only component that comes in contact with the patient’s skin is the needlefree syringe, which is disposed of and replaced after each use. While a PharmaJet injection isn’t painless, it’s gentler than a needle stick for most patients. For most patients, the pain is analogous to being snapped by a small rubber band. An ancillary benefit of the PharmaJet system is that there are an estimated 16 billion needle injections given each year in developing countries. In many instances, needles are reused. Because of this practice, the World Health Organization estimates that 50 percent of needle-syringe injections are unsafe, and that 21 million people contract hepatitis, HIV, and other diseases each year from previously used needles. Once used, the PharmaJet syringe auto-disables and cannot be reused. This feature may make it particularly attractive to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other organizations that provide health care assistance in developing countries. The PharmaJet system may also be attractive in select niche markets. For example, detention facilities and prisons struggle with the use of needle syringes because needles are contraband in a detention setting. Q&A: Based on the material covered in this chapter, what questions would you ask the firm’s founders before making your funding decision? What answers would satisfy you? Decision: If you had to make your decision on just the information provided in the pitch and on the company’s Web site, would you fund this company? Why or why not? networking, photo, commerce, and community sites, and if a parent knows that his or her child is on a site that doesn’t show up on the SafetyWeb report, it can be added. SafetyWeb can also monitor a child’s cell phone activity if the phone is part of a “family plan.” Currently, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint allow SafetyWeb to activate what it calls mobile tracking. This feature logs the number of calls and text messages that a child sends and receives. It can also alert parents when calls are made between 11 P.M. and 5 A.M., and SafetyWeb plans to add an option that will alert parents when a child is “heavily texting or calling” during school hours. In regard to online activities, SafetyWeb alerts parents about four types of events: informational, positive, negative, and red flag. An example of a positive event is opening a new social networking account configured as private (as opposed to public, which leaves a child much more vulnerable). An example of a warning event is a status post including language that is normally deemed offensive. Red flags are more serious. Opening a new social networking account configured as public is an example. Another example would be a 15-year-old girl friending a 45-year-old man. Status posts with language suggesting risky topics cause red flags by default. Alert categories are: Depression, Adult/Profanity, Bully/Threats, Drugs/Alcohol, Predator/Contact, and Racism/Hate.

Q&A: Based on the material covered in this chapter, what questions would you ask the firm’s founders before making your funding decision? What answers would satisfy you?

Decision: If you had to make your decision on just the information provided in the pitch and on the company’s Web site, would you fund this company? Why or why not?

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