It was the panic after one of her sons wandered off at the Sydney Family Show that caused Gabby Stein’s business brainwave.
“Our son Ben did go missing temporarily and we freaked out,” the founder of GPS kid tracker Luboo said.
After the family was reunited, Ms Stein and her husband Rahm Erez were talking with friends about how they could have avoided the stress of the situation.
“We said, we don’t want to track our kids all the time, but wouldn’t it be good if we could rent something?” she said.
There are a range of GPS trackers in the local market for keeping track of young wanderers, but privacy concerns are front of mind when children are involved in the world’s multi-billion dollar wearable technologies market. The couple wanted an alternative to having to buy a smart device and pay for the required mobile data.
Over the past two years the duo have workshopped a product families could rent at large public events and theme parks for the day, so parents can easily pinpoint their location if they did get separated from their kids.
Ms Stein and Mr Erez, whose backgrounds are in law and architecture, worked with teams in Australia and Israel to build a waterproof tracker that can be rented from $10 from a participating venue.
“What we were most surprised about was the appetite of the venues to partner with us,” Ms Stein said.
Over the past year the founders have spent significant time in California preparing to launch the technology at theme parks this coming summer.
They’ve also piloted the technology back in Sydney at venues like the Australian Walkabout Wildlife Park at Calga.
Luboo, which is a combination of nicknames Ms Stein and Mr Erez have for their children, will test the US market this month with a soft launch at theme park California’s Great America in the lead-up to Christmas.
Parents can rent the Luboo device at a venue and attach a wristband to their kids. They then download an app which tracks the user’s movements throughout their time at the event.
The company was born in Sydney and has refined its offer through accelerators including Telstra’s muru-D program, but the founders see global appeal. They have so far tipped in $500,000, including contributions from private investors in Australia and Israel.
There are a number of GPS competitors and kid-focused smart devices on the market, including the the Spacetalk watch, which is sold in Australia via ASX-listed MGM Wireless. These retail from around $350.
We don’t want to track our child all the time — I want to be able to trust our child. We are saying, there should be a middle ground.Luboo co-founder Gabby Stein.
Ms Stein said the appeal of Luboo was it was not designed for everyday use, instead providing an anonymised way of finding kids in a stressful situation.
“We don’t want to track our child all the time — I want to be able to trust our child. We are saying, there should be a middle ground,”Ms Stein said.
The founders haven’t hired any staff yet for Luboo ahead of its formal launch in 2020. Pricing for venues to own a set of the trackers is yet to be formalised.
Ms Stein said there were fitting parallels between the experience of launching a startup and the rides at the venues they were looking to crack.
“One of our biggest lessons apart from just being steadfast is accepting it is a rollercoaster,” she said.
Source: Thanks smh.com