Chris Hays and Mark Jeffrey wanted to create a way for everyone to be able to tell their loved ones if they were in trouble. Their first product, Guardian Circle, did just that, netting a mention a few years ago. Now the same team is truly decentralizing alerts with a new token called, obviously, Guardium.
The plan is to create an ad hoc network of helpers and first responders. “Guardium and Guardian Circle together open the emergency response grid to vetted citizens, private response and compatible devices for the very first time,” write the founders. “Providing an economic framework on our global distributed emergency response network; Guardium brings first responders to the 4 billion people on the planet without government-sponsored emergency response.”
Because the product already works, the team is taking on the token sale as a new challenge.
“We’re serial entrepreneurs — both of us have been venture-backed in the past by names like SoftBank and Intel, and we’ve been senior execs in companies backed by Sequoia and Elon Musk. Transitioning to the token sale-backed universe has been an interesting study in contrasts,” said Hays. “There are a number of ‘panic button apps’ — but without exception, all of them have forgotten ‘the second half of the problem’ — organizing the response. Getting people who do not know one another into instant communication and location sharing during an emergency — the importance of that cannot be overstated.”
The founders found that their idea wasn’t fundable in the valley. After all, what VC wants to help people when they can invest in Snapchat? Instead, Hays and Jeffrey are aiming bigger.
“We’re rebooting the world’s safety grid,” said Hays. “We’re creating a new global public utility. And we want it to service everyone, everywhere on earth. Although it is a very big vision, and it is a capitalist, multibillion dollar ecosystem that we’re chasing — it’s still a very different vision, and not the one venture capitalists are looking for.”
The token works to create a flash mob of help. Guard tokens pay first responders and dispatchers and “cities, campuses, and resorts stake $GUARD to access Alerts created within their geofenced borders,” allowing local folks to help immediately. They’ve sold half of their hard cap of $10 million thus far.
While tokens are always an iffy investment, this team has produced product and, more important, it’s clear they’ll never raise venture. A token, no matter how it’s used in the future, seems like a solid solution.