From the desk of ‘I’m undecided this can be a good concept’ at CES in Las Vegas, comes 444. The early-stage startup is planning to mix pepper spray with some electronics so a possible assault sufferer’s associates could be notified after they’ve needed to deploy the defence spray to get themselves out of a bind. The firm is the brainchild of Logan Nash and Matt Rogan, who met on the University of Michigan and began creating the tech 9 months in the past.

“We called the company 444 because our target market is college women between the ages of 18 and 24. A very popular trend right now is Angel numbers. And 444 is an angel number that stands for protection,” Logan tells TechCrunch in an interview. “We are a self-defense company, so the name ties in very well with our company and our mission of self protection.”


The firm is on the very earliest phases of its improvement; the prototype it confirmed at CES was a 3d printed prototype, and a early prototype PCB – extra of a proof of idea than an precise product to this point. The final plan is to incorporate a pepper spray aerosol and a Bluetooth transmitter that connects to a telephone. If the pepper spray is deployed, the gadget indicators to the would-be-victim’s telephone, which then sends a message together with the present location to numerous pre-defined telephone numbers.

A spicy getaway

“I see all these women carrying pepper spray devices. They’re normally large, pink, and bulky. They are just pieces of plastic that end up just being thrown in the backpack or in a purse. In a time of danger, they can’t get it in time,” says Logan, explaining that they designed a clip that makes it simpler to hold in a spot that’s accessible. “The clip attaches directly onto the user, whether that’s their sports bra if they’re going for a run, or their belt if they’re just walking around campus. So no matter what, it is an arm’s length away, and you’re not fumbling around to get in a time of danger. When they activate their device, not only will they have six to nine seconds of spray time, but their current location will also be sent to up to 10 contacts of their choosing through an app installed on their phone.”

The firm believes that this second line of protection – texting the contacts – is essential, and claims it has buyer discovery interviews to again that up. The goal value level for the gadget is round $35 per unit. That’s considerably cheaper than, say, the fashion bracelets from Flare, however much more costly than the $7 Amazon charges for the large, pink, and hulking pepper sprays the corporate is changing.

Is it defendable?

We had been a little bit curious to seek out two males on the helm of an organization concentrating on ladies, however the founder says he doesn’t see a battle there.

“We went through a program called iCOR at the University of Michigan, which was a three-to-four-month course. We each interviewed 15 or so of our target demographic every week, and asked them what they like, what they don’t like, why they use self-defense, why they don’t use self-defense,” Logan says, dismissing the query as as to whether it could maybe have made sense so as to add a girl or two to the founding group. “We asked them whether they look at each other’s current location and if they’re tracking each other, things like that. Our company and product were shaped by that customer discovery work.”

Far is it from me to discourage a few younger entrepreneurs from following their goals, however on condition that smartphones are starting to have more and more sophisticated emergency response measures built-in, I’m questioning if there’s actually an area available in the market for this product – doubly so on condition that it could’t talk with emergency providers or associates by itself, however must be Bluetooth-tethered to a smartphone.

As a 6-foot-4, martial arts-trained ex-cop, I’m prepared to confess that it’s attainable I’m being blinded by privilege on this case, so maybe take my criticism with a fistful of sodium chloride. Having stated that, all the pieces I find out about self-defense screams ‘keep it simple.’ A $7 canister of pepper spray in a single hand and a telephone within the different appears extra dependable than the answer 444 is outlining with its imaginative and prescient for a safer future.

Read more about CES 2023 on TechCrunch

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