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How a feisty 6 year old shaped our entrepreneurial journey

 


Sapan Shah & Birendra JhalaSapan & Birendra

 

The best description of us, is doting parents. Two families, 3 kids aged 8, 5 & 5. Two daughters, one son. Although our personal association goes back decades, it was one short holiday 2 odd years ago that was a defining moment in our lives -  what transpired during our brief time away from home is what has driven us to this point today of launching Spottr.

 On a sunny afternoon while lounging with friends by the pool side, we suddenly realized that our 6 year old Ayana had out of nowhere decided to become less dependent on us and took off on her own: she was not familiar with the resort and the pool was a good 3 mins walk from our rooms. We eventually discovered she had ventured back to the rooms all by herself and we didn’t have the faintest clue if she knew the way back - heck she was 6!

 In the 6 minutes she was gone - we were paranoid & anxious and had a million thoughts running through our minds: but none of us dared to voice them. Although we found Ayana safe and sound, we didn’t know if we were ready for her to take up an adventure. But on another level, like other parents, we felt a sense of pride to see our child getting wiser and growing up. We all came home happy, but the incident and experience lingered in our minds: we realised we wanted our children to be independent and wanted to allow them the freedom to explore on their own and at the same time be with them  to make sure that they were doing alright.

 We started to look around for a service that helps us with this, a rather common problem, child-safety gadget and we did come across companies selling devices to track loved ones but none of them fit the bill: something crucial was always missing. Either it was just a device or we could not make a call or there were other limitations in the service or application. We wanted something significantly more comprehensive: so we decided to build one by ourselves and and this is how Spottr was born.

 We created a list of things we’d like to see in a device:

  • It should not be a phone, my child is too young to have one.
  • The key idea was to have my kid go out and explore and allow me to keep a watch. I don’t want to track how far my kid can go before my phone loses network: I need the device to work pan-India and preferably worldwide!
  • It should alert me if and when my kid enters or exits designated areas - ‘SafeZone’ as we call it.
  • It’s not just me, but our families should also know where my kid is. If I am not reachable, they can receive the same information as me.
  • Our child should be able to get in touch with us whenever they need and I should be able to talk to my kid whenever I feel like.
  • We wanted the device to be functional but not attract a lot of attention at the same time.
  • We also wanted to avoid the hassle of charging it everyday - can’t have one more smartphone charging dock!
  • Essentially, we wanted it all in - we don’t want to buy a sim card and then a device and then a service to be able to do all of this.

 When we started building Spottr, our first version, was a hard wired circuit which was a massive 8’ X 8’ inches. But since then we’ve come a very long way to make it a compact  and sturdy and a feature packed, smart device that’s smaller than a matchbox - and more importantly, it has everything that we wanted in a device. And in this challenging  process of perfecting it, we’ve formed a company, built a very proud team, established partnerships across oceans and finally launched it.

 Spottr is so much more than just a GPS Tracker, it is a comprehensive service. Our goal is allow our curious and intelligent children freedom and more independence in their growing years. And yes, we realize that it is not an easy task for a parent but our journey is dedicated to ensuring parents have their peace of mind. With the launch of our maiden device, we are rapidly covering areas that any parent would need help on.