Now here’s my legwork on what the people behind SafeTrek have done so far in 2014…
In late January, The Maneater, the University of Missouri’s student newspaper, ran a story titled “Student-run SafeTrek app gains popularity,” which stated that the app had been downloaded over 5,000 times. Another story, “Failing Forward,” appeared in the university’s alumni magazine MIZZOU in late February.
The SafeTrek app is now free, but it didn’t start that way: the original price point was $5 (late 2013), then $2 (Jan/Feb 2014), then $1 (April 2014). The makers made it available for a lower price or for free as temporary promotions a few times during that period, but it’s been free for everyone since early May of 2014.
So how does SafeTrek, the company, plan to make money if they’re now giving away the app for free? This segment from Good Morning America offers a clue:
In April, SafeTrek co-creator Zach Beattie received the University of Missouri System’s 2014 Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award, which includes $2,500. In May, the app was recommended by Kansas State University in “Safety options, services for students on campus, off campus” and highlighted as an Apptimize case study for increasing app store reviews.
Finally, to close the loop on that funding question: a May 21st interview with Beattie in Missouri Business Alert explains that “SafeTrek intends to sell data collected from its thousands of users as its main way of making money.” So there’s a potential privacy issue there, and it’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out.