When emergencies occur at a school, safety is the number one priority. Whether there is a fire or an unsafe intruder on campus, schools have the monumental responsibility to ensure that everyone is accounted for and safe. Unfortunately physical attendance sheets that are often used for tracking really do not help in times of crisis, especially when you consider there has been 170 school shootings since 2013 in the US. This is why Ruvna has created a real time solution that schools can utilize during emergency situations using an app that tracks students, while updating students and parents about the unraveling situation. With the increased number of emergencies in recent years taking place at schools; society can not afford to be without a solution like Ruvna.
AlleyWatch chatted with CEO Joey Nutinsky about the startups’ time at DreamIt and how the company is poising itself for growth.
Tell us about the product or service.
Ruvna enables schools to locate and account for their students in real-time during emergencies. During any kind of school crisis, it can be incredibly difficult to identify which students are safe and which require attention. With Ruvna, schools understand who needs help immediately without the use of GPS, app downloads, or student interaction.
How is it different?
Most schools rely on paper and clipboards to take attendance during emergencies. If a teacher notices they are missing a student during a lockdown, they have no way to know if that student is in the bathroom, with another teacher, or in danger. They also have no way to communicate information about that missing student to the administration. With Ruvna, teachers simply take roll of their students, and in real-time the administration and first responders can see which students are safe, and which need help.
What is your personal favorite feature or use of your product?
We worked for months to make a product that would be easy for teachers to use in some of their most stressful and anxiety-filled situations. We had to make sure that even if a user’s vision becomes blurry, or their hands are shaking, our product is still easy and intuitive to use.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Ruvna is for schools with students between Kindergarten and 12th grade. There are about 150,000 schools in the US alone. These schools are putting more attention towards security and safety now than ever before, with spending increasing over 80% since 2012.
What is the business model?
Schools subscribe Ruvna on an annual basis, paying per student. Ruvna manages all of the technology, so schools don’t have to worry at all about maintaining the complex infrastructure which powers Ruvna’s powerful technology.
What inspired the business?
Our CTO Jack Ruppel and I began work on Ruvna at the age of 16 when we were in high school. Having taken all of the programming courses available, we wanted to work on a product that would make a substantial difference in the world.
How has working out of the coworking space, Coworkrs, helped foster the growth of your business?
Coworkrs is our first dedicated space. Prior to Coworkrs, Ruvna was located in the DreamIt accelerator space. It’s really amazing how much morale, efficiency, and enthusiasm improve when you have your own space. Coworkrs has been amazing.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We’ve spent a lot of time working on our product, as no school is willing to use an emergency tool unless it truly and thoroughly works. Now that we have the technology built, Ruvna is working hard to expand into as many schools as possible. Within the next six months, we hope to be helping many more schools become safer.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
The path to success for our company won’t look like the path for any other company. Creating a startup is about discovering your own path rather than following the path of those that created things before you.
Are you working on any exciting new features or offerings?
Always! The minute we think our product is “finished” is the minute we should be forcibly removed from leadership. There are still many more problems that we can help schools solve in regards to safety, and we’re working hard to do so!
Is there a connection you’ve met through the Coworkrs network that has been significantly valuable to your business?
We’re still quite new here, so not yet. Hopefully soon!
Why did you launch in New York?
While all of our founders were in college, Ruvna applied to the DreamIt accelerator. Since Ruvna was still early, and we were all pretty inexperienced, we didn’t even think we would hear back from them. Amazingly, we were accepted, and within a few weeks we all dropped out of college and moved to NYC to pursue Ruvna full time.