Meet Emma Kay, Founder of Personal Safety App: WalkSafe

Tell us about WalkSafe

WalkSafe+ is the leading personal safety app on the market, it houses an interactive, unique, safety map that allows users to have the most relevant information at their finger tips and choose their safest route to their destination.

The app has 4 main features; WalkSafe, this feature allows you to share your route and allocated estimated time of arrival as a live journey with your trusted family and friends, so they know when you should arrive e.g if you’re travelling from Green Park to Oxford Circus, this will take you 20 minutes, the app will show you the most efficient route to take and how long it should take you to arrive there, this is then shared live with your loved ones so they are in the loop with where you are and at what time.

Secondly, HomeSafe, which allows users to share their route home and their chosen estimated time of arrival with their trusted family and loved ones; if you fail to arrive at your destination at your ETA, the app will automatically alert your loved ones that you have failed to arrive and give your trusted family and friends your exact last location.

Thirdly we have the SOS button, if you hold down the SOS button, this will immediately alert your selected friends that you are in danger giving your live location. Finally we have FollowMe, this is if you don’t have a specific destination in mind (e.g you’re going for a run or a walk), this allows your trusted circle to “follow you” on your journey, if you stay in one place for too long they are all alerted. We truly wanted to create an app that has everything in one place when it comes to personal safety.

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

I started WalkSafe to provide a much needed solution to personal safety concerns. As a mother (I have two children, a son and a daughter), I want my children to grow up in the safest world possible. Particularly my daughter, she’s 4 and learning about the about the world and we already have conversations about safety and how she can thrive whilst staying safe.

WalkSafe is unique because we listen to our audience, we spend a long time learning and working out how we can best help people feel safe. My motto from the beginning has always been this is the app that shouldn’t have to exist, if in 10 years I can close WalkSafe down then it’ll be because people feel safe walking in their neighbourhoods, but sadly at this moment at time that isn’t the case.

I wanted to bring features to the app that allowed people to keep the power in their hands, but also feel their most confident when using it – so having a trusted circle was key, choosing the people that you share your location with is so important, there are lots of other apps on the market that have alarms, maps etc but we wanted our users to be able to share their location in a safe way.

We are also really lucky in that the way WalkSafe has been made, means we can work with some amazing other companies, like Bonkers. We are really pleased to see businesses switch on to the idea that the safety of their customers and consumers needs to be considered, so being able to provide the safety technology for Bonkers was very refreshing and we are looking forward to seeing where they go next.

How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

We have recently bolted onto the original B2C app WalkSafe Pro – which is designed with people who work anti-social hours in the nighttime economy, hospitality, gyms etc in mind. We’ve had an overwhelming response to this, because we’ve found that 66% of Gen Z prioritise safety when commuting and working for companies which have initiatives in place to protect employees.

WalkSafe Pro allows managers to create groups of people, made up of those who are happy to share their location information, and keep track of them until they reach their destination. Simply, employees insert the address of their destination to the app, which connects with their manager’s app.

Managers are then able to see in real time the movement of that person until they reach their destination. If something happens – for example, that staff member doesn’t reach their destination, they are delayed in reaching it or they press the SOS button, their manager is immediately alerted and is then able to action help. Most importantly, control and consent is left in the hands of the employees, who are able to opt in and out at any time and whose location is only shared when they decide to share it. No location data is kept for more than 7 days and the we are currently exploring third party screening to foster an even more robust level of safety.

We want to take WalkSafe Pro national, I didn’t realise how passionately I felt about vulnerable employees – there really is a need for employers to help their employees get home safely.

What can we hope to see from WalkSafe in the future?

We are launching our safety awareness training at the moment, this is us going into businesses training staff how to help keep their staff and customers safe. This has extended on to the app, we now have angel beacons in certain cities. Bradford was announced as the first “safe city”, with roaming “angels” on the WalkSafe map, these are volunteers who can be approached by anyone looking for help, they will either be able to escort them to a safe space or venue or help them charge their phone, get them medical assistance etc.

We are excited to say we have other cities that are taking notice and we are now having conversations with their councils and business districts about implementing the angels in other cities. As with all businesses there are obstacles, but we are always fine tuning our offering and making sure it’s as robust as possible and fit for market! Our focus now and forever is to make sure people feel safe on our streets, day in day out. I want to change peoples attitudes towards personal safety, it’s not something we should take for granted.