Hands up, all of you parents out there: How many of you feel particularly anxious when your child is away from you in school? How many more of you dread the journey to and from school, and fear that kidnappers or robbers could prey on them?
Now, a new Thailand-based startup aims to assuage your concerns as an anxious parent. Launched by the founders of Locaze, Nugrean is a school bus tracking app that plots the movement of the bus on a map, allowing parents as well as teachers to get a sense of where their children are during the journeys to and from school.
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According to CEO Shotiwan Wattanalarp, the team got the concept for Nugrean by focussing on two issues: the safety and the quality of life of children. “The statistics of crime and accidents related to children has an increasing trend every year,” he noted. “All around social media and networks, you can find reports of lost or missing children, death of children and children left inside cars or houses or schools. With Nugrean, parents or guardians will be kept closer to their children, guaranteeing the safety of their children in all aspects.”
So far, Wattanalarp added, their tests have been smooth, and the response from parents and schools positive. “We did a technical test with a signal transmitter and the Nugrean app, and the result was great and impressive. Our next step is the linking up with all schools for tracking boundaries and making sure the functions do not breach any Thai laws practically and legally,” he said.
A winner of the AIS The Startup 2014 incubator programme, Nugrean won a ticket to the recently-concluded Echelon 2014 conference. Wattanalarp shared that Echelon has given the team a new perspective on starting up. “Echelon was a great opportunity to learn from the pros, particularly startup founders with 5-10 years’ experience,” he noted. “We met several investors as well, and this opened our eyes to going international with our product, and not just limit ourselves to Southeast Asia.”
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Nevertheless, Nugrean plans to start small, gaining trust among Thai schools and parents. “Only after we get permission from schools will we start the real operation in a school bus. However, most schools trust us, and also believe that Nugrean will increase the safety and the quality of life for children,” he noted.
“The safety of students is for now the first priority of Nugrean. For the future, Nugrean will include information like the children’s and students’ interests and behaviour,” he concluded.