A tech startup founded by two Union Graduate College alumni has recently gained its first customer.
Peace of Mind Company is designed with the college student in mind, with the goal of enhancing safety and security throughout campuses by “improving accessibility, connectivity and the quality of information exchanged between campus community members and their security departments.”
The POMCO System aims to put students in touch with campus safety instantly.
POMCO offers two solutions: a handheld device as well as an app solution. The POM device is a key-chained sized personal safety device.
A threatened student that has access to POMCO will immediately activate their POM, and their exact location is transmitted while everything is recorded.
Campus security will be swiftly alerted of students who activate the POM; the student will be located and assistance dispatched. POM reduces campus security’s response time by sufficient amounts.
Students can link the device with their phones just by filling out a quick profile with their name and any relevant medical information. The device can also be attached to their keys.
According to Albany Business Review, POMCO has recently completed a deal with the Sage Colleges to provide devices to all undergraduate students for the coming fall semester.
They have run two pilot programs with Sage, including one for the spring semester. Another pilot program is also running at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and 50 students were each given a device.
Chris Oertel, the Director of Residence Life at Sage College stated how a student in one of the focus groups explained how “(it) is a blue light that I can carry with me in my back pocket,” referencing the blue security poles that frequent campuses.
One of POMCO’s founders, AJ Leahy, stated, “it’s a big milestone for us, and we’re very happy.” The company will provide 1,500 of its security devices for undergraduates at Russell Sage in Troy and Sage College in Albany.
According to Leahy, faculty and graduate students can opt in to the program, increasing the number needed by a few hundred.
Leahy and co-founder Lukas Lampe met at Union Graduate College. They first developed a prototype for a device that would track lost keys, but discovered a much more meaningful focus when Leahy’s friend was killed in a random act of violence on a college campus.
On this topic, Leahy stated: “we realized this technology we were building could be used for something greater than just finding your personal belongings.” They are looking to grow their staff, says Leahy.
Recently, the team has added Chris Kelly, who was a partner in Treo Solutions, a Troy-based health care data company that was purchased last year by 3M.
POMCO is working with an incubator program out of Package One Industries in Schenectady NY. Right now, they are working with David Dussault, president and CEO of Package One, to find a U.S. manufacturer for the device, since it is currently made in China.
Regarding Saratoga Springs, Leahy noted, “you could feel it when you first come up here. They’re making a big push for technology entrepreneurship.”
POMCO has raised somewhere between $500,000 to $1 million in funding.
The company aims to start another round of venture capital funding later this year, which Leahy referred to as “rocket fuel” to assist the company growth on a national level, especially now that they have obtained their first customer.
Leahy stated, “The first one is the hardest one to get, and the most important one there is. We have multiple schools in the pipeline, and that will put us in a good position to raise the money this time.”