Jude Binkley staff writer
It’s not uncommon for many children to have a lemonade stand at some point to help make a little extra cash. When students get to high school they may work in retail or wrap burritos at Chipotle on Beverly Drive. But for senior Marco Riesgo, his job is much more than part-time. Riesgo is the founder and CEO of SAFE Tech, a wearable technology company that focuses on safety.
Riesgo got the idea for the company after a crime was committed against a family member. He wanted to find a way to help others from becoming victims of similar crimes.
“We’re producing hardware that is going to ensure interconnectivity and security for people,” Riesgo said. “We’re going to do that through direct contact with police, and automate and optimize the intelligence through pulse and body temperature monitoring. So when someone is in danger, their temperature and heart rate increases. When we detect the rates are getting over the limit, then we detect that it is an emergency and we send the police to that person.”
Starting a company has been so large a task that Riesgo is now in independent studies so he can focus more on the startup. The planning and development of SAFE Tech date back to the beginning of this year.
“I’ve been working now for the past seven months. I work around 15 hours a day when I don’t have school. When I do have school, I work until 2 a.m. every single night,” Riesgo said.
In addition to the time commitment, there are many factors that contribute to making a technology like the watches that SAFE Tech has designed. To get help, Riesgo placed an ad and received 60 applicants. From these, he was able to hire a CTO, technical officers, and a design team to help code the program and refine the hardware through automated computer design.
“My goal with SAFE Tech is to get as many users as we can. I’m trying to get 10 percent of the market share of personal security and location services, which would amount to 15 million users,” Riesgo said. “And if we are able to do that, we’re going to be able to save a lot of lives. Because one out of six women in the United States is sexually harassed in their lifetime, and every 98 seconds a person is a victim of a violent crime. So, if we’re able to even get to 1 percent of the people who suffer through all of this, then it’s going to be very beneficial for society.”
SAFE Tech’s watches are still in pre-production, as they are currently looking for seed funding and are developing the hardware and coding the application and web server. Riesgo plans to launch before the summer of 2019 and has set a goal to reach 7500 users in the first nine months after their launch.
“I truly believe that this is something that is going to take me somewhere,” Riesgo said. “I want to create things that are going to change our society.”