In a time when new startups are seemingly popping up left and right, what truly differentiates a truly revolutionary brand from the others is the ability for the technology to create real, profound change that transcends borders and communities. As a medical professional and business entrepreneur, Anthony Oyogoa focused in on a worldwide crisis – personal safety – and developed next-generation technology to bridge the gap and increase the standard of safety for people anywhere, anytime with just their smartphone. Through his mobile personal security app, UrSafe, Oyogoa empowers users to take their safety to the next level by connecting them with potentially lifesaving tools that can be used during everyday activities, from taking rideshare to going on a first date, to prevent an emergency before it happens.
We spoke to Anthony Oyogoa, CEO and Co-Founder of the UrSafe App, to hear from him firsthand about his journey as a tech entrepreneur, his perspective on business, what’s next for UrSafe, and more
What is UrSafe? And what are some of the most popular uses?
UrSafe is the first personal security app with hands-free activation by voice recognition and fully synchronized with emergency services (911). The UrSafe App has cutting-edge technology and the most advanced tools in personal security, which are developed by a team of experts in the fields of health, military service and public safety. With UrSafe, users can stay safe and connected with family, friends, and local authorities through sharing your location in real time and a geolocated connection with emergency services (911) in more than 200 countries and territories. These features are not only crucial during emergency situations, they are also important to use during everyday situations, like dating, taking rideshare, selling or buying from online ads, getting stuck in extreme weather, global travel, walking to school, realtors showing houses alone, and more, in order to prevent any situations from becoming emergencies.
What are some features that make it unique from anything else on the market?
Unlike other safety apps, UrSafe has innovative, next-generation features and strong international capabilities to keep you safe anytime, anywhere. The FollowMe and Check-In features allow your loved ones to view your location in real-time, so they can ensure you safely get from point A to point B and back. The Hands-Free SOS feature allows you to set personal safe words that trigger different emergency responses within milliseconds depending on the severity of the situation, from uncomfortable to emergency, so that you can contact help even if you can’t access a phone. Lastly, the Fake Call features allows users to program UrSafe to call them at a scheduled time and customize the caller ID to casually, yet believably, give people a reason to excuse themselves from uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situations
Why were you inspired to create UrSafe?
Over the last several years, I have watched as the epidemic of sexual assaults has continued to rise throughout many industries and wondered what I could do to make a change. As my friends, and now Co-Founders, explained how often many people, especially women, experience moments of anxiety during a day due to feeling unsafe. We started looking at how technology has advanced to encourage us to meet strangers and travel around the world based, yet there have been little advancements in technology to actually keep people safe while traveling and meeting with others, which was a huge red flag to us. Since then, we have spent the past two years developing and leveraging patented technology to create The UrSafe App, which officially launched in December 2019.
How does it feel to have the ability to empower people and create safer communities?
The ability to empower power is such a reward that it makes all the trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship worth it. When a user in Mongolia has been using our app and tells us how the app makes her day-to-day life safer, it’s humbling. With the empowerment comes responsibility, as we have users in over 130 countries that depend on us to be there for them when they need us, whether it’s from going from point A to point B to needing an excuse to leave an uncomfortable situation.
What’s your background and upbringing? And how has that affected your perspective on life and business?
I grew up living in boarding schools in Nigeria and the UK, then moved to the US for my last year of high school and to attend college. The different cultures and lifestyles I experienced shaped how I interact with others as well as how I view my responsibility is as a CEO of a global service. In some countries, the feeling of insecurity is palpable in the air and the understanding that there is no justice or consequences for those that may harm them is ingrained into their lives. It’s for these people around the world that we continue to make our product for and adapt to these conditions as best as possible.
What are some challenges you’ve faced as an entrepreneur?
The biggest challenge I’ve experienced in business is the emotional and mental toll of an entrepreneur. It is “lonely.” The final decision is yours, and the consequences for these decisions are yours. There is a solemn trust you are given by your staff when they agree to put their livelihood in your hands. It’s true for all industries. Whether these employees are washing and detailing cars at your shops or being a server in your restaurant, being a cashier at your store, joining your medical company as support staff or being developer at your global app company. These people depend on you making the right decision each time. Many times, society will glamorize the life of being an entrepreneur with stories and movies about the likes of Jeff Bezo, Oprah Winfrey, Robert F. Smith, Marcelo Claure, Carlos Slim, David Steward, Mike Adenuga or Aliko Dangote, but the reality is that most business owners will never end up like that, but let me tell you, there will be some moments, some hours or special days that everything goes perfect and that it makes it all worth it.
What’s something you wish you knew when you were younger?
I spent thousands of hours playing basketball about during my years in middle and high school overseas expecting to make it to the NBA to challenge Michael Jordan for dominance in the league and didn’t even make the team my senior year once I moved back to America. Seriously, never be afraid of your wildest thoughts, ideas or dreams, and please let anyone ever limit yourself. Don’t waste your idea or the idea given to you, and if you fail trying to create or do something amazing, you can always return to where you were before.
What are some brands or organizations you’d like to partner with? What’s next for UrSafe?
It would be fantastic to connect with major global telecom to have UrSafe preloaded on users’ phones in countries where crucial infrastructure is lacking, thereby allowing users to experience the safety advancements in countries that desperately need it. Many of these countries have growing economies and a young workforce, but they don’t have safety and security capabilities in place to continue their long term growth and create a more modern society.
What are some of the most rewarding parts of your job?
The most rewarding part of my role is hearing stories of how our app gives a family member relief by making sure their loved one is safe, even if they are across the world. When I am notified of a user’s SOS activation from the middle of IRAQ, I’m humbled to know I could help them somehow, even though I will never meet or know the user. It makes it all worth it.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who want to make a difference in their communities?
Short and simple: “if you walk into a room and realize you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the WRONG room.” Always try to find people that you can learn from, even if it’s about subjects or topics you swear you will never need. Remember, you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.