It’s not everyday that we hear about an accountant who turns down the life of corporate America to go start a startup. At least not a device oriented startup like EduProtect. But that’s exactly what happened with Joe Parisi.
“I was always good at accounting, but it didn’t inspire me the way startups do” Parisi said. The fairly young accountant gave up the corporate hustle of doing taxes, wading through receipts and managing people’s financial records to launch into a startup.
Parisi told us he’s been pretty active in the growing Chicago startup community. Now he’s gone all in with a team of developers from his alma mater Northern Illinois University, to create a truly meaningful product and company.
EduProtect is a small panic button device that skips the hodge podge of extra apps and connections like similar devices. When the user hits the panic button on EduProtect the police are automatically summoned with GPS data of where the device is located. The device itself fits on a keyring and looks like just another key fob.
Parisi is targeting college campuses with the EduProtect device. A report released earlier from a White House task force said that one in five women are sexually assaulted in college. A statistic that doesn’t sit right with Parisi or his team.
“No student should have to experience violence when attending school and no parent should have to live in fear when their child is away at school,” said Joe Parisi, CEO of EduProtect.
The group of NIU students were especially motivated to take action following the tragic murder of NIU art student, Antinette “Toni” Keller, as she walked near the campus in October 2010, as well as a campus shooting in February 2008 that killed five students. “Toni Keller’s life was taken in the middle of the day near campus and there’s nothing anyone could do about it. She didn’t have the ability to dial 911 and there were no emergency call towers within reach. That’s why we created EduProtect. It’s a simple, yet powerful way, for students to stay safe.” Parisi said.
EduProtect is the only system that allows people to instantly alert police of an emergency without having a phone in their hand. When facing danger on or off campus, students can simply push the button on the wireless hand-held remote to activate the EduProtect app which automatically transmits their personal profile and GPS location to the local police.
Police can then send help to their exact location and know who they’re looking for. Once activated, EduProtect also starts recording audio and video which can be used as evidence. Once deactivated, it immediately stops tracking users.
EduProtect is currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo, you can pre-order here.
While college students and assault on college campuses is a big concern for EduProtect the company knows that high school students sometimes find themselves in similar dangerous situations. The EduProtect device, packaged for individuals and institutions, is available at Edu-Protect.com. The price is $9.99 a month or $99 per year for individuals. For every 12-month purchase, a device will be donated to a Chicago public high school student, according to the company.