An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with AJ Leahy (co-founder and CEO) of POM Safe, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of POM Safe – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
Eight years ago, one of my best friends was killed due to a random act of violence. Unfortunately a delay in the response time by first responders due to lack of location information contributed to his passing, which highlighted major issues with current emergency communication services. Worse still, rates of assault and crime are going up across the country, whether it be on college campuses, in healthcare, or in our cities. POM, which stands for Peace of Mind, was created to help keep people safe in the work and daily lives through innovative technology solutions.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
There are many challenges when building a startup company, especially one that involves both hardware and software. With the current state of supply chains globally, one of our major challenges is procurement components at the volume and lead time to keep up with our growing demand. Hiring is also a challenge in the current environment. However, the fact that our business is laser focused on helping people and making a major impact in their lives does draw in passionate candidates that align with our values and mission. If you’re in sales, marketing, or technology and looking to join a growing team with an important mission, look us up!
What does the future hold for POM Safe?
We’re expanding into various markets both in the enterprise and consumer spaces. In the last year, we built a new product that brought the company into new industries such as manufacturing, food & beverage production, media & entertainment, fitness, and private education. We’ve also launched our consumer brand and it’s demonstrating tremendous promise in a short amount of time. We are seeing all types of people gravitate towards our product due to the rise in crime and overall unease as we return to work and play post-COVID.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Newark?
We’ve been headquartered in Newark for nearly 5 years and have come to love the city and the people we’ve built relationships with. Through our partnership with Newark Venture Partners, we’ve made great friends that are building awesome companies right here in the city. It’s inspiring and a lot of fun.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you’re a first-time founder like me, bring the attitude of “I know what I don’t know” and surround yourself with smart people that fill the gaps in your personal experience and capabilities. Having a team that’s aligned with your personal and company values that will support you along the way is crucial to success. Never forget why you are doing what you’re doing, and treat people right. Virtually none of it is easy, so you’ll need to find others you can trust, and also an inner strength to get through the hard times. A quote I often refer to is “the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s what your made of that matters, not your circumstances”.