Taking a stand against online bullying
Local company Treze Technology was set up with the goal of creating innovative technology that would protect children and adults from online bullying. Now they are about to launch their first cloud based solution and NI Business Now spoke to Macartan Mulligan to find out more.
What does your product do?
Our software is designed to intercept and warn parents about online bullying by scanning their children’s social media accounts. It covers a lot more than just your standard bullying as well. It will detect inappropriate intimacy, posting during school hours or late at night and any significant mood changes in tone or content.
Where did the idea come from?
My own experience as a parent has shown me that with social media none of us really have a clue what is going on. We don’t want to snoop on our children’s pages, we do want them to go and enjoy themselves. Our software allows the parent to tell the child exactly what will trigger an alert so that there is no snooping behind the scenes. It’s a much more open relationship. They can still have fun online and only the negative material will ever reach parents. It’s a trust based system.
Why is your product so original?
It’s cloud based so we really need to go out there and create a market for the software and explain what cloud based means. The advantage with this product is that it is device irrelevant, it doesn’t matter where your child logs into their account. Once the product is paid for it takes only two minutes to set it up.
When will you be ready to launch?
We are going to work on mostly B2B to start with. We have a finance and operations advisor working with us and his experience in business development and software reseller agreements we have potential arranged a distributor agreement for Australia. Our software is developed in Cairo and we have an office out there. We know the market and our co-founder Ciaran Connolly has lived in the middle east for a while so this will be one of our target markets.
Tell me about nobullying.com?
NoBullying.com started as a social responsibility project for our company Treze Ltd, but through the support of a community of parents, educators and teenagers – it has grown into something much bigger than we could ever have imagined. It was formed as an information portal for parents, teens and teachers seeking help online. NoBullying.com has been quick to gather global traffic with over 250,000 people visiting the website in September alone from around the world. Over 60% of the visitors come from the USA and Canada, 20% from the UK and Ireland and 20% from the rest of the world.
How have you funded your product development?
Our project has been funded by us initially. We recently closed a £335,000 first round of investment from E-Synergy and then we also work with some angel investors. We have had fantastic support from Invest NI and not least our client executive, Gary McCausland.
What research went into setting up the company?
We spent 2012 researching the problem of online bullying – studying reports and trends from around the world.We launched NoBullying.com in summer of 2013 to bring experts’ advice to parents through guest interviews, to bring a platform where excellent advice can be shared. 2013 was a year of development, as Treze investigated the technology available and began its journey in creating software tools that will help protect children, teachers and help schools and parents fight bullying.
Did you find the Propel programme useful?
We thought it was really good. Invest NI invite speakers to come in and talk to you to help you find a different slant to create a thriving business. Our mentor Aidan McGrath has been great for fresh ideas. We have seen problems that aren’t a million miles away from our own in some of the other companies on the programme and we have been able to try to resolve them together.