Crash detecting emergency app wins SA leg of The Venture contest

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The idea to create a smartphone app that can detect if you’re in a car accident and automatically dispatch emergency services to you, has won entrepreneur Jaco Gerrits the South African leg of the Chivas Regal The Venture startups competition.

Gerrits was announced as the winner at a swanky evening event held at the Inanda Club in Sandton last night. He topped four other equally-formidable entrepreneurs who were all vying for the chance to represent South Africa on an international stage, and possibly win R4.8 million rand in cash for their business.

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A serial entrepreneur, Gerrits is the founder and CEO of a company called Dynamus Technologies, which the Crash Detech website says is “…a company that has developed and successfully taken numerous technology solutions to market”. He has also won various awards over the years, including the “Top Information & Communication Technology Entrepreneur in Africa Award”.

His latest initiative is Crash Detech, an app designed to help reduce the amount of time it takes for emergency services to get to accident victims, and it is that which won him the Chivas Regal The Venture competition.

Crash Detech runs silently in the background on iOS and Android phones. Should app owners be in an accident, Crash Detech uses a proprietary algorithm that monitors a variety of sensors on phones to detect impacts and send out alerts to emergency services. It’s also able to eliminate “false positives”, for instance those inevitable moments when the phone is dropped.

The app is available in a free and paid version. Paying for it includes additional benefits such as the ability to add your medical aid details, access to criminal law services, access to claims from the Road Accident Fund and more. Monthly subscriptions start at R49pm.

“I’m extremely excited to have won, I must say. The judging process was tough but winning feels amazing; it’s the start of a much bigger journey and I can’t wait to represent South Africa on the international stage,” Gerrits told htxt.africa after the winner announcement.

“If we win, we’ll scale what we’re already doing, and there’s a lot of positive impact that we can have if we expand. We’ll also use the money for new research and development, as there are a lot of key elements we want to introduce, like gamification,” he added.

“What stood out about Jaco is that he has a solid idea. He saw an immediate problem, had a solution, brought it to the table and he was ready,” Fikile Moeti, one of the competition’s judges, told htxt.africa about why they chose him and his startup as the winner.

Moeti also commended the four other finalists and encouraged them to enter the third edition of The Venture in 2017.

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