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|Developing the 911 for Stolen Goods|
|Published Monday, August 25, 2014|
While Manchester-based startup Rejjee is only two-months old, it has big dreams: To become the non-emergency 911 for stolen goods. Rejjee’s main product is Mobile Blue, an app to report stolen goods that is designed to easily feed data into the FBI crime database and send a report to local police departments in seconds. To date, more than 125 police departments (some counties covering numerous departments) in 20 states have signed up for the app. Rejjee co-founders Ken Smith, who is a serial entrepreneur and organizer of the MIT Enterprise Forum, and Gary O’Neil hope Mobile Blue, now available for iOS and Android, will one day be preloaded on all phones.
“This is the first nationwide standard electronic form for filing stolen goods [reports] anywhere, anytime, on any device, period,” says Smith. “Our goal is to greatly reduce the market for stolen goods,” adds O’Neil, who led the O’Neil Griffin Bodi ad agency in Manchester for more than 30 years. O’Neil says local police often take reports on paper, file them electronically and send them to state police, who file them on national databases. That process takes time and can create errors.
“It’s a great database, very detailed, except it’s what happened six months ago,” says O’Neil of the FBI crime database.
With Rejjee (the name is meant to suggest registration), data reaches the national database in seconds and pawnshops, the main thoroughfare for stolen goods, will soon be able to see limited information (but not alter it). Law enforcement officers usually look for stolen goods at pawn shops, but the slow reporting process makes it hard to identify items in time, O’Neil says. The app allows police to view and mark the status of stolen items quickly during their investigation.
The app is free to end users and law enforcement. A related app, Rejjee Tuff Stuff Protection, lets people register up to 10 personal items in a digital vault, or an unlimited amount for $1.99 annually. In return, a discount coupon aggregator offers discounts with numerous online retailers. Rejjee is now in talks with Best Buy and WayFair, among others. It is also looking to license the app to the federal government, which O’Neil says wants better crime data, and to sell ads to insurers.
O’Neil says replacement, not retrieval, is the key aim of Tuff Stuff Protection, as most stolen goods are not retrieved and most deductibles far exceed $1.99. Rejjee is talking with the U.S. Justice Department to integrate the apps into federal databases. Rejjee has two full-time employees, a contract development team with seven employees, three part-time employees, as well as consultants and advisors. It is also working with 12 interns at the University of NH at Manchester to test the product. O’Neil has bootstrapped the company, and aims to make back his investment in about three years.
For more information visit rejjee.com.
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