Cliff Weitzman


Hero is an app that allows you to know when people around you are in danger. There is a big button on the app that says “HELP.” If a user is afraid of being robbed or raped, if they broke their leg or are having a heart attack, they can press the button, which will send a push notification (like an amber alert) to all users of the Hero Network (anyone who has downloaded the app) within a 1 mile radius of the victim. Once the message is swiped, the app will provide the people alerted with a map that shows a clear map from their location to that of the victim. It will also show the victims facebook profile picture and name. A call to action will appear on the screen to prompt the alerted user to help.

The app targets people who want to help, as opposed to those who want to ask for help. There is a lot of social capital to sharing that you downloaded the app on social media, and that contributes to its viral growth model. The four-person team is composed of an IOS developer who won “Best IOS App” at Yale’s hackathon, an amazing backend developer, and the two founders, both of whom have prior coding experience and a lot of entrepreneurship experience.

Explore Grant Evaluation:

What have you learned about your venture and what progress have you made since receiving the grant?

Hero is an app that allows you to know when people around you are in danger. While working on this app we worked to make the user interface and user experience as simple as possible and worked on the hypothesis that A. people would want to help each other, B. people would be interested to share on facebook the fact that they signed up for Hero, and C. that we would be able to reach an exponential growth rate base on the number of shares, views, and subsequent downloads and signups we would essential. We learned how to model adoption rate using excel to predict exponential growth. We learned how to interact with Parse for database management and how to submit an app to the app store and work with apple's developer account system. What we learned in the process that curtailed the project was the rate of sharing, it seems that people are very reluctant to share on their facebook wall and that a strong connection with the person is needed in order to get this to happen and that manifests differently with different people. If we continue our goal moving forward will be to figure out how to convince/get people to share the link on facebook.

Finally, we got to put into practice a lot of what we had read about in regard to lean startup methodology in relation to asking the right questions on users and building MVPs.

Our biggest accomplishment was...

building team, learning Parse.

I learned the most during...

team-building stage, MVP building.

Something I think we did well...

putting together an MVP.

We need to improve on...

keeping the team together / building a culture / developing commitment.

In the future, I hope to...

to know how to code even better.