Startup Idea: Seatbelt Detector

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A company I thought of after an Uber driver asked me to put my seat belt on when I was sitting in the backseat. Not since my mom in middle school had someone asked me to buckle up before driving to our destination. This instance came and went, but for whatever reason after this interaction, I have always buckled my seat belt in Ubers. As months went by I continued to Uberpool around SF/LA and I noticed that no one ever put their seat belts on, unless they saw me do it and then would join. At this point I just continued to be an observer until one day I saw a friends Facebook status about her Uber driver getting into an accident with none of the passengers wearing seat belts. I could make this story way more dramatic, but I’m just going to be honest that no one was hurt, but someone just could easily have been severely injured.

After some minor Googling I stumbled upon this terrifying website called “Who’s Driving You”, which logs all accidents, deaths, crimes and incidents that involve ridesharing drivers. Not surprisingly I found several fatal crashes that could have been avoided if the passengers were wearing seat belts.

OK now that I’m done with the how did you think of this super random thing, I’ll get into a quick walk through of the pitch deck.


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Objectively not very important to think of a clever name/create a logo when I am just brainstorming an idea, but I think it’s fun.

 

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I laid out the problems in simple terms that people can relate to without needing much additional explanation.

 

 

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The solution again was pretty easily explained through a few bullet points.

 

 

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My favorite part of this whole process is looking at the data. I found IBISWorld to be the most useful when looking for economic data/statistics. All macro data I sourced from IBIS, but since Uber is private I had to used leaked documents as my source. The data is pretty self explanatory here.

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Expressing the actual product was difficult because it had never been build before, so I showed a breakdown of how it would work here.

 

 

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Another of my favorite parts of this process was breaking down the business plan and creating a projection. This business had a very simple business plan based simply of profit per product sold. The idea was to produce them for $18.75 each, sell them for $25 and take the difference. I love round numbers and this math all thankfully turned out clean based on a 1% U.S. market share.

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I believe too many startups assume adoption through ad spend, hence everyone’s obsession on customer acquisition cost, however, I think of ad spend as a last resort. I think organic/direct marketing is more effective as I outline on this slide.

 

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Competitive analysis is the most nerve wracking part of this early process in my opinion. I went through a few days of Googling variations of the idea and keywords of my idea as well as patent searching US databases. The only competitor I found was UK based and was designed for parents to know if their children were buckled in. I found the product overpriced and cumbersome.

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I always find these pages kind of infomercial-esq, but I guess it does provide a decent wrap up of the presentation. The page is pretty self-explanatory.

 

 


This idea I actually took further then most, especially considering my limited skill set and built a working prototype for a few reasons. My thought process was that even if I gave up on the company at least I will have gained a little more exposure to electrical engineering and coding.

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So I borrowed a friends Raspberry Pi and then went to a local electronics store to pickup the additional components. The image on the right shows the setup of the seat belt detector. The two black rectangles with the wires coming out of them are the magnets. The idea was to put one magnet on the seat belt clicker and one on the belt itself. When the magnets were together the channel would send the message “CLOSED” and when they were apart it would say “OPEN”.

The next goal was to have it send a Bluetooth message to a phone which I was able to do using an application called “Prowl” and the Raspberry Pi because it had built in Bluetooth.

As far as overcoming the coding challenge, I was able to scour different blogs and combine what people had done for other projects to make it work for this. I will admit I did need the help of an engineer friend to tweak a few lines of code, but I was extremely close! As you can see in the photo below, I was able to make it work!

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The next part of my project was to install a weight detector so the magnet would only be activated if weight was on the seat, but I did not get to this stage.

 

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