An Orlando tech startup that already had been having a good month announced an official launch this week.
Officials with Pink Lotus Technologies’ device, which provides safety information to first responders, had previously announced integration with a widely used 911 system.
The formal launch has been a long time coming, CEO Maryann Kilgallon said.
“No child should ever die because of a tragic incident like being left in hot car or because of wandering from his or her parents,” said Kilgallon, who pursued the business after seeing a report about a child’s death in a hot car about four years ago. ““It’s been a substantial journey to get to this point, but we know this is a solution to prevent someone’s avoidable death.”
As she launched her company, Orlando Tech News caught up with her to learn more about her journey and what’s next for the company.
What’s it like to have this launch, after you put so much into it?
It is a great feeling, As I Iook back, it is incredible at what I have been through, the good and bad experiences on this journey are too long to list. As I tell my story, it is very emotional for me. People said this is a very hard space and “maybe you should re-think it.” But I was not going to let the naysayers get in the way of my determination. It’s too damn important. This technology is going to save lives everywhere and that has been my north star always.
How difficult has development been?
I did not have a tech background so it was very challenging. I had to learn how apps are developed, the manufacturing process, how hardware components function. I have become a student of tech and had to learn every step of the development chain. I am still learning.
What launched you into entrepreneurship with Pink Lotus and the POMM device?
I saw how a little boy in Orlando had died while in the hands of a caregiver. It was a terrible death. When I heard the details, I was so upset that I went to bed in tears. I could not sleep and kept wondering how this could happen in the age of technology we live in. I started to think about solutions that might have saved his life. The very next day I started doing research to see what options were available and did not see anything that I thought was good enough, so I invented POMM, which stands for “Peace Of Mind Monitor.”
What lessons have you learned as a startup founder that you hope will help you push this community and product forward?
Startup founders need capital to launch. Founders are a very special group of individuals. Most do not have wealthy families to go to, to ask for seed money. In today’s world, anyone can invest in a startup. Our pre-seed round is still open. There are crowdfunding platforms out there. As for the device, I tell people I meet all the time that children face tragedy every day, especially when in the care of others. POMM is an insurance policy for your loved ones.
What’s are your thoughts on the support from Orlando’s tech community? What does it get right and what can it do better?
Orlando still has a lot of work to do. I look at Tampa and Miami and see headlines all the time about their ecosystem. I wonder why don’t we mirror their playbook? Obviously, they get it. They have invested in the startup community with real dollars. I think Orlando wants to help but sometimes they take too long to support new ideas. In the meantime, the startups end up seeking outside help, whether it’s funding or joining accelerators.
Programs that Kilgallon cited as potential boosters to the startup community include the UCF Business Incubator, the Orange County Cluster Initiative with the Florida High Tech Corridor and Project Orlando.