Angela Rucci hasn’t been sleeping much this past semester. After winning the Hackathon last fall with Tego, her safety app for people walking alone, she’s dedicated every spare moment to the app’s development.
Now days away from Tego’s official release on Friday, Rucci still hasn’t lost sight of her goal.
“I just want to help people get home safely,” she said.
Rucci came up with Tego after realizing the process she and her friends used to make sure everyone got home safe after leaving a class late or going to bars wasn’t efficient.
“There needed to be a better way than calling someone while walking alone, or texting them when you get home,” Rucci said.
Tego allows users to select a route that they plan to follow and assign friends and family as “protectors” to monitor their trip. Protectors will be notified when the user’s battery dies, when they indicate that they “feel unsafe” or call 911. They can also watch live video footage of the user’s trip.
Rucci sees Tego as a career, not just a side project. She said she’s turned down multiple job offers, including one from Google, in order to focus on Tego after graduation.
Rucci has put together a team of Ohio State students to propel Tego toward success, including more developers, marketing and finance students.
“Angela was doing all of the app development and she needed someone to help her develop the business side of Tego,” Austin Drabik-Weingard, a member of the Tego team, said.
Drabik-Weingard, a first-year in finance, is helping to develop Tego’s strategic marketing and outreach plans. He said that what matters at a large school like Ohio State and the “real world” is growing your network.
Rucci also believes connecting with others is essential to Tego’s success. She hopes to partner with the Association of Computing Machinery Women’s chapter at Ohio State, along with various clubs and sororities to have them test the app out for themselves.
“If they don’t feel safe while using the app, I want to know so I can make it better,” Rucci said. “If you really love something, you’ll tell your friends about it. I want to get as much feedback from as many people as I can, and make Tego into an app that people love.”
Rucci said Tego is different from other safety apps in that it actually verifies that the user reached their predesignated destination and will alert “protectors” or the police if the user veers off their route. She also said that unlike other safety apps which often requires the user to pay extra for video services, Tego is completely free.
“The target market for this app is young women,” Rucci said. “We don’t have a lot of money. So I wanted to make sure all the app’s features are always accessible and free.”
Rucci said she isn’t focused on making money with Tego, but in order to continue improving the app and make it more widely available, she’s looking for funding from “angel investors” and other sources. With Drabik-Weingard and others, she’ll also explore in-app advertisements and ways to sell the data gathered by the app to larger companies.
Tego is available for download on the App Store starting Friday and Rucci asks that users email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org after using the app.