Two days after Carousell acqui-hired Wath Over Me, Xinch Chin, Co-founder of the personal safety app for women, has revealed that she sold her startup because they were unable to monetise the product.
In an article in Medium, Chin also said that while there was no pressure from Watch Over Me’s investors to come up with a monetisation plans soon, she knew some form of revenue stream would be necessary to stay afloat and increase valuations. Since it was very hard to monetise a personal safety app, she had to either shut it down or keep going without thinking of revenues, she said.
I felt trapped and I knew I had to make a decision. There were 2 stark choices, both on opposing ends of the spectrum:
Basically suck it up and keep going because that’s what entrepreneurship is about. “You’ve gotta be tough and resilient” — words you are always hearing as an entrepreneur.
Quit. Shut it down. Any cash you might potentially make from this will be funneled into hours of therapy treating your PTSD anyway.”
Finally, Watch Over Me came up with a middle ground.
My investors and I came up with a solution that would help take my team — the real people behind Watch Over Me — to a different level and give them great exposure. And in order to truly serve our mission, we collectively decided to do something radical that has hardly been done before — we decided to open source our technology. It might not be much, but it’s a step, I feel, in the right direction.
She has been struggling with depression, anxiety and retraumatisation for the past three years, she said in the post.
Founded in 2011, Watch Over Me is a personal safety app that is focused on helping women get the help they need if they are ever attacked or assaulted on the street, and making crime and safety-related data transparent and relevant to women worldwide. So far, Watch Over Me claims to have helped over 250,000 people (women, especially) feel safer.
Chin has, however, said she would continue trying new business ideas around personal safety and is passionate about pushing the prospects for women in technology in Southeast Asia and the world.
“I hope to continue to play a constructive role in this very exciting ecosystem and as much as this has been a hard process, I couldn’t be more grateful for the lessons, and the people. And most importantly, my team who put up with my experiments with leadership, always nudged me to be the best possible version of myself and stuck by me the moment I told them what was going on, not budging through seasons of uncertainty and job insecurity till the very end,” she said.
“We hope the work we’ve put into building and maintaining Watch Over Me will not go to waste, and in return to the community, we have decided to open source our service. This means that the source code for our project will be made freely available for distribution and modification for you, or anyone you know to be able to launch a similar service in no time,” she said in a personal message to her users on Watch Over Me’s site