Angel investors see future in SafeZone app

A Wollongong start-up has been given wings by a trio of backers offering $1 million in combined investment.

CriticalArc, a founding resident of the University of Wollongong's StartPad incubator, will use the investment to get its security app SafeZone first to market in the UK and US.

The funding, from the federal government's Commercialisation Australia and two private sector investors - Hunter Angels Trust and Sydney Angels - is the most secured by a business in the Startpad since it began in February last year. CriticalArc co-founders Jahmai Lay and Glenn Farrant said the investment would create six more jobs in the near term, and 14 within two years, with the majority to be based in the Illawarra.

Their success is in line with StartPad's goal of creating high-skills jobs in the Illawarra, stemming some of the talent flow to Sydney.

"We've already hired a sales and marketing leader and another senior software engineer," Mr Farrant said.

"I think what will happen is that over time as we have more success in the [StartPad] ... it will draw others in and then it will compound. We've got what's required to be successful."

The pair's SafeZone security app is designed for use in controlled open space areas, such as university campuses.

Already in use at UOW and Melbourne Airport, it allows users to call for help or report an incident, bridging the gap between security teams and the people they are meant to protect.

The system will retail at about $100,000 a year on average, including a command and control system that leverages existing security systems such as CCTV.

Mr Lay and Mr Farrant are alumni of UOW and both gained security expertise working for the CCTV firm Honeywell in the lead-up to the 2012 London Olympics.

"We were frustrated that organisations were spending literally millions on these types of [CCTV] systems, which are valuable as a deterrent and after the fact, but ... almost useless in terms of being able to allow real-time response," Mr Farrant said.

"You might have 1000 CCTV cameras but no-one's watching 1000 CCTV cameras. This is where our system goes above and beyond what's been possible previously to allow security to be more pro-active, not just reactive."

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