Automated walking safety app Follo has secured a £215,000 investment led by startup venture capital firm Jenson Funding Partners with participation from angel investors as part of an ongoing round.
The business was co-founded by two life-long friends, film and TV producer Chris Miller and financial consultant Charlie Pothecary, who sought to do something new and more impactful.
The idea for Follo came in early 2021 in response to a number of high profile attacks and accidents involving walkers.
Miller and Pothecary did some research about walking safely and couldn’t find an app that could send alerts automatically when needed, without the user having to interact with their device.
Follo allows the user to activate a journey to their specified destination as they would do on a regular navigation app.
As well as navigating the user to their destination, Follo monitors their device for unusual activity, such as change of speed, motion or location.
Should they deviate from their chosen route, stop moving for a significant amount of time or pick up speed, for example, Follo will check in with a timed notification that automatically pings the user’s phone.
If everything is fine, the user can respond to confirm their safety but if they are unable to do so by the end of the timer, then SMS alerts will be sent to their pre-chosen key contacts, containing a link to their location and the reason for the alert.
Charlie Pothecary, co-founder and director at Follo, said: “When researching investors, I avoided the usual route of trawling through VC lists and instead searched for startup news. Encountering stories of Jenson’s high level of activity supporting innovative apps and services like ours was really encouraging and I got in contact immediately, resulting in a great partnership already. It’s fantastic to have them on board alongside our angels as we plan to take Follo to the next level.”
Chris Miller, co-founder and director at Follo, added: “Looking ahead to the future, Follo has unlimited possibilities. In addition to our current free walking safety model, the investment will be used to drive marketing and brand awareness.”
Sarah Barber, CEO at Jenson Funding Partners, said: “While there are pre-existing personal safety apps on the market, they can scaremonger. Charlie and Chris were mindful of this and have created a beautiful, positive brand that can fit into the user’s lifestyle, whether it’s women or men, or the old or young, out walking alone.”