New App from Ross Students Designed to Keep Students Safe Draws National Media Attention and Support
A personal safety app created for college students by college students is steadily building momentum -- gaining users, support, and national attention as it enters its first full year of operation.
Called Companion, the free app “lets you reach out to family, friends, or your public safety department to have them keep an eye on you as you travel late at night.” It’s the brainchild of a team of Michigan Ross BBAs and other University of Michigan undergraduates.
The app had a low-profile launch at the University of Michigan in an iOS version last November. It was created and developed by Danny Freed, BBA ’15; Nathan Pilcowitz, BA ’15; Jake Wayne, BSI ’16; Katie Reiner, BBA ’16; and Lexie Ernst, BBA ’17.
In just the last few months, the team has:
- Won the Michigan Business Challenge, sponsored by the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, which brought $25,000 in prize money.
- Introduced version 2.0 of the app, including an Android edition.
- Partnered with the U-M Department of Public Safety as their first beta customer.
- Launched at 14 additional universities with campus ambassadors this fall.
- Affiliated with the Desai Accelerator for business development, a joint venture of Ross and the U-M College of Engineering.
- Received considerable high-profile media attention, including showcases on NBC’s Today, CBS This Morning, Mashable, Business Insider, and the Huffington Post.
“I could never have possibly imagined Companion's explosive hyper-growth in the past month, and I'm so excited to be a part of a thriving startup that aims to increase safety on college campuses,” Ernst says. “Being so passionate about a project outside of school can definitely be a lot to handle at times, but this has been a great learning experience. I've learned how to prioritize both my school work and the needs of my company, and I think that the lessons I'm gaining will prove invaluable in the future.
“I can attribute a large amount of Companion's success to having the incredible Ross community and resources made available to our team. Ross' students and faculty have been not only supportive, but instrumental, along the way.”