Revolar started, like most successful companies, out of both a personal passion and as an attempt to solve a problem. Jacqueline (Jackie) Ros, the founder and CEO, was looking for a way to protect her younger sister after she was attacked twice before the age of 17. She wanted to find a way to provide her sister, and other women, with a device that could help keep them safe. She knew that she needed to not only patent her idea, but also save up money to start the company, so she took a full-time job teaching.
For two years, Jackie worked as a teacher in Aurora as she built up Revolar in the evenings and on holiday breaks. She spent any extra time she had learning everything she could, as her background was not in technology – but in International Studies and Spanish. Eventually, she was able to start building a team around her, which provided her with even more momentum.
Jackie and her team have spent the last three years developing the Revolar product, “a discrete button, wearable device that uses Bluetooth Smart to signal a personal emergency alert to your loved ones via a text message and/or email message. These alert notifications are relayed by the user’s smartphone to Revolar’s redundant, high reliability cloud service. Emergency contacts are provided with a web link that provides them with alert severity level (yellow or red), up-to-date location information, and path traversed since the alert was triggered.” While the bigger goal of the product is to end rape culture, they have discovered many other helpful uses based on customer feedback.
In the episode we talk about Revolar’s birth, its growth and the lessons that Jackie has learned along the way. Listen below to learn more about Jackie’s Chapter Be story…
PODCAST POINTS TO REFERENCE
[02:15] Jackie explains what birthed the idea for Revolar, and the fact that it came from a very unfortunate family event.
[05:45] “Being a teacher is a lot like being a CEO. You have to look a year out, you have to plan backwards, you have to make sure that everything is on track. You have to get people pumped up and excited for what they are working on…”
[07:40] Everybody gets nervous about fundraising, but it helped Jackie to start thinking of it through the lens that “you’re not asking for money, you are offering an opportunity.”
[11:15] There were hurdles for Jackie to get over in the beginning of Revolar, including how she balance being a full time teacher while starting a new tech company.
[14:00] “I think a lot of people think that in the beginning everything has to be perfect or that everything has to look great, but the fact is that in the very beginning of starting a business, it is in the ugly baby phase – everything is squishy and uncertain, but you have to love it.”
[17:35] What being solution-focused means to Jackie and why she thinks it is important.
[20:45] You are going to hear a lot of NOs – always take the time to ask them why!
[22:55] Denver’s role in the growth of Revolar, and why Jackie doesn’t think she could have done it anywhere else.
[24:00] How an uncomfortable situation at the 2014 Denver Startup Week, led to the growth of Revolar.
[31:45] We discuss Jackie’s experiences being a young female in the tech startup world and whether or not she has noticed anything different from her male counterparts.
[36:55] The evolution of the Revolar product, and the lessons learned along the way. “Evolution comes through customer discovery.”
[40:00] Kickstarter advice!
[44:10] Jackie talks about how she stays connected to Revolar’s bigger mission of ending rape culture, and how she remains authentic to why she started the company.
[46:15] Jackie offers advice to others who might want to start a tech startup. “If you really want to make you dreams come true, you’ve got to be willing to give up some creature comforts!”
CHAPTER BE QUESTIONNAIRE…
Solution – Focused
What’s your favorite story to tell at a dinner or cocktail party?
Opportunity is usually disguised as hard work, which is why most people miss it.
Worst work experience?
Babysitting, I seriously prefer teaching.
What is your definition of success?
I’ve created a positive impact on the world by making people’s lives safer and happier.
How do you tap into your creative energies – especially when you are feeling drained?
I reread chapters of my favorite books.
What does “to be” mean to you?
Comfort in one’s own person.
How do you spend your time when you are procrastinating?
Hanging out with my family.
Ideal READING LIST – books, websites, blogs, podcasts, magazines, etc. that you would want on your Swiss Family Robinson deserted island?
Favorite song with “be” in the title?
Rather Be by Clean Bandit
LINKS & RESOURCES…
- Revolar website
- Jane Miller
- Foundry Group
- Teach for America
- Denver Startup Week
- Women Who Startup
- One Million Cups
- House of Genius
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
- Crowdfunding Strategy
- Feasibility Study
Images via Chapter Be and Revolar