Startups #nofilter had the privilege of sitting down with Keepers Founder & CEO Hanan Lipskin. Hanan talks about how he was inspired to create this important app which allows parents to monitor and protect their children from cyberbullying, which has recently become a huge and untreated epidemic. Download the app here. Click to read more interviews with startup founders.
1. Where did the idea for the app come from?
A friend of Arik’s (co-founder) son committed suicide after being cyber-bullied for months. He had no one to talk to, no one to confide in, and so death became his only console.
Upon further investigation, Arik learned that his son was also the target of many offensive social media attacks and was suffering on an ongoing basis.
Arik’s story resonated all too well with me. As a teenager, I was bullied as well. I experienced a personal trauma, while standing at a bus station on Jaffa road waiting for a bus to take me home from school, a man standing next to me instigated one of the deadliest suicide bombings in Jerusalem. I couldn’t talk to anyone for a full year after that, not my parents, friends, therapists… no one. I remained silent. My classmates took full advantage of my continuous melancholy and made constant fun of me.
Cyber bullying and cyber attacks are common online. Social networks today are fertile grounds for harassment and criminal activity against children. The potential for a cyber attack against children is high, both on their smartphones and computers.
That is how the idea of Keepers was born.
We had to figure out how to devise a system that would prevent cyber-bullying from happening ever again. That’s how I, a coder, joined efforts with Doron, the designer, and Arik – the originator, to create Keepers. We created technology that can detect any form of bullying and can alert the parents immediately so that they can react in an appropriate and timely manner. I have left my comfort zone and also quit my job as a programmer at Cisco to focus on Keeper’s which is only a small part of my level of commitment to this project.
2. What is the recommended age range for Keepers? And have you noticed that your user base is a different age than you anticipated?
From our study we found out the need to divide Keepers to 2 different approaches:
- My first phone app
- Keepers for teenagers
The reason for that is based on the fact that a 14 years old children’s need a different monitoring method that 7-14 years old children’s
For now we are aiming for the 7-14 audience.
3. In exploring some potential pitfalls – Is it possible that a 12 year old child would refuse this app, as the notion of their parents monitoring their smart phone activity would be concerning or even embarrassing? And can’t they just uninstall it?
Keepers app is mounted on the child OS – i.e. the child cannot uninstall\remove the app and the app is concealed from the child, the only way to uninstall the app is with a secret code located on the parent app.
We created 4 different roundtables with children between the ages of 12-14 and we asked them what is their reaction about Keepers and most of them answered that they believe it can help them feel more protected on the social media landscape.
4. Your app says it is able to monitor social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and SnapChat. What is the full list? Are there any apps such as Whisper, Cyberdust, or Secret that your app is unable to monitor?
Keepers’ algorithm can detect any incoming\outgoing text messages on any social media application (currently available or future to come).
5. What has been the general feedback from users thus far?
We found 2 pedophile’s and many sex abuse conversations on our pilot, and we found 2 cases of children’s violence action that were prevented after Keepers detected the conversation and alerted the parent on real time about those issues.
6. Any competitors that you are aware of?
We want to give #Firgun to Koala, Kipmi and Bosco – all Israel based apps on the same field, but Keepers is the Jerusalem representative so we hope to bring as much pride to Jerusalem as possible.
7. Being that cyber bullying is such an important issue of the modern era, are there any major organizations or governments that have taken interest that you are interested in teaming up with?
We are now talking with several government institutions about this solution and we found great interest from those organizations. The education system is aware of this issue and is always trying to find a cutting edge solution to tackle this issue. We believe that every problem that the tech-world created the tech-world can solve.
We released our alpha trail version for only 400 users. We learned that an average 12 years old child is sending\receiving 1000 messages a day, and 1.3% of the messages are offensive.
Our parents retention ratio is 94.3% and the average usage time for parent side is 4:47 min each day.
9. How is your funding going – any big rounds on the horizon?
We have won the Horizon 2020 SME program (we are the 3rd Jerusalem-based company in the history of Horizon 2020 to win the grant of 50,000 Euro). The Horizon 2020 is a program by the European commission to accelerate the startup industry and only 4% of the submissions are accepted, and on Phase 2 we hope to win 2.5 million Euro.
Beside this great achievement we completed our first investment round (we don’t want to give away the numbers) and we got 4 full time employees (Hanan, Doron, Phillip , Dan), and support from JCE students (Matan, Alon, Noy, David, Amitay and Itay) provide us great value on developing Keepers.
10. For fun: What website do you go to check when your internet isn’t working?
Easy – www.one.co.il
11. For fun: Any advice for Startup #nofilter?
Stop talking start working.