Alert.Us, a recently launched mobile family safety application, has some interesting ideas about the direction that these sorts of GPS tracking apps should go. In fact, says CEO Antoine Martin, the company’s goal is to have kids actually accept and recommend the app. That’s a bit different from the other parental control or safety apps on the market today which generally launch with the needs of parents, not their offspring, in mind. It’s also a fairly lofty goal, since kids don’t generally want to be tracked.
Currently, the app currently offers the usual round-up of family safety functions: a geo-fenced alerting function to let others know when someone has arrived at home or school, for example, as well as an emergency alert button which, when triggered, sends out a message to a pre-configured list including family, friends, neighbors, and anyone else who can rush in to respond.
Though these types of “emergency” alerting functions haven’t yet been seen to thwart any serious crimes – like kidnappings, for instance, families can still take advantage of the functionality for more common incidents, like a kid who falls off his bike or the little brother calling on his older brother for help with bullies, maybe.
Some of these ideas have been tried before, through apps like Life360, iHound, Norton Safety Minder, React Mobile, Rapid protect, and others. But Alert.Us also offers a few extra tools not all the apps have, including a family message board for the everyday missives between family members (can you get the milk?) – something which would somewhat compete with other startups like Tango or newly launched Hubble.
Alert.Us offers a battery monitoring function, too, which is one of its smarter features at launch. When a child’s battery is empty, the app alerts the parents. It’s such a simple idea, but it goes a long way to help parents to avoid the panic they encounter when a child doesn’t answer their phone. (It also helps with the kids who claim “oh, my battery was dead,” when it wasn’t. Gotcha.)
But back to the problem of getting kids to actually like the app? Martin tells us that will be the focus in the months ahead, and hints at plans to head into the Quantified Self space to add value on top of basic GPS tracking.
Alert.Us quietly launched two months ago, but the company hasn’t done much outreach or marketing. The cross-platform application has already added over 25,000 users (70 percent on iPhone) during that time, and now finds that active parents open the app six times per day.
The Paris-based company had a launch partnership with e-commerce site vente-privee.com to drive initial downloads, and on the first day after launch, the app climbed to number three in the French App Store, and remained there for two days. It also spent a week at the top of the Lifestyle category, Martin adds.
Parents can use the app on a trial basis for up to 900 minutes and/or 3 alerts, then it’s $6.99 per month ($64.99 per year) afterwards. To date, the app has converted 100 of its early adopters into paying customers, out of the 10 percent of the user base which has reached the end of the trial period.
Alert.Us is backed by $500,000 in angel funding, from an undisclosed group that include four “super angel moms.”