In 1999, my wife Patty and I started a nonprofit called Survive the Streets. Survive the Streets’ purpose is to support those in need and help them stay warm through the cold Seattle winters. Each year the funds we raise allow us to purchase 40–50 boxes of coats, gloves, hats, socks, sleeping bags, backpacks — and they all get delivered to our door in preparation for Thanksgiving Day when we distribute them to the homeless in Seattle.
A few years ago, one of the boxes of coats was stolen from our doorstep just days before Thanksgiving Day, meaning we would not be able to hand them out to those who needed them. Seeing the impact that one package theft could have on others made my entrepreneurial mind kick in. It hit me just how easy package theft is. Almost anyone over the age of 10 with a bike can steal a package. Security cameras are great for identifying the thief, but I did not find any great options for actually preventing the theft in the first place. Within hours I had a vision of the product that could have prevented the theft of our coats. And that night, Package Guard and Safe Circle app were born.
Any person who has started a company around a physical product knows it is a long road from idea to an actual working product in the customers’ hands. If ANYONE would have told me it would take two years from idea to market ready for such a simple product I would have laughed. And yet here we are now, 18 months later, with a product in manufacturing and just now ready for delivery. Thanks to this process, I understand wholeheartedly the need for patience, perseverance and a strong “why”. Having the coats stolen that November night was frustrating and disappointing. However, I am grateful because thinking back to that night gives me the motivation to work through the many challenges that creating a new product presents to accomplish our goal, stopping package theft.
The product itself is quite simple. In fact, I assumed that someone would already have created it. The Package Guard is a device with a pressure sensor that is triggered if a thief takes a package off it without disabling the alarm, which only the Package Guard owner and invite-only Safe Circle can do. The Safe Circle app is a “Neighborhood Watch 2.0” which allows you to authorize trusted neighbors to receive notifications about package deliveries and even disarm the system so they can pick up and hold your package for you until you get home. The Safe Circle app helps communities drive awareness and communication about package theft by easily allowing neighbors to look out for one another. This allows connected neighborhoods to no longer be fearful of having packages delivered to their homes. We want to provide the tools to empower neighbors to build local systems together to take back their neighborhoods and show thieves that they are not welcome. It has always been a simple mission for me.
Before Package Guard, I had never created a hardware product before. I didn’t know the first thing when it came to starting. But with help of so many, we have a provisional patent filed, a team working to tell the story and a product in manufacturing. I owe a big thank you to the countless people involved in this process. I would not have made it this far without their support and dedication. We have some very interesting ideas for future iterations of the Package Guard as well as other new products coming down the road. So even though we have come far already, we are just getting started on our journey to stop package theft. We would love for you to join us in our mission.
To be continued…
Thanks for reading,
Founder and CEO of Package Guard