Originally from England, Dale Butterworth, Founder of Kryosec Inc., first moved to the United States as part of an international transfer while working for Citigroup. After spending some time in Texas, Butterworth relocated to Naples where he continued to work remotely in various capacities. Today, he holds the position of Senior Vice President / Global IT Regulatory Risk Management Lead. When he's not managing all aspects of risk around Citi's regulatory requirements and records management, he's building new technology to allow businesses to better reach their target customers. Butterworth shared the story behind his journey and how his company has the potential to transform an entire industry.
"With my background in technology, I'm always thinking of new ideas," he said. "I have a lot of friends with their own businesses, many of them being side businesses, and I thought that, with my experience, I should do something similar. A few years ago, I founded Kryosec. Since then, we've worked on various projects including a smart device marketing solution called Flare Central. It's basically a platform that allows you to deploy and control marketing beacons designed to grab people's attention."
For those unfamiliar with beacons, imagine a piece of technology that's sending out bits of data that are set within that device. The idea is for that data to trigger information to end up on a passerby's smart phone in the form of an alert or targeted marketing message. Butterworth explained the premise with a little more technical detail.
"That device would either need to have our app or our code could be embedded in another company's app," he said. "The cloud server environment would validate that it's one of our devices and would then return the marketing message that's been configured in the cloud. This would allow retailers or businesses like Publix, RaceTrac, Costco or Food Trucks etc. to send out notifications and marketing messages when the public comes into local proximity of our Flares."
Butterworth continued, "Think about the potential of putting these in a large gas station. There's currently nothing in place to drive customers into the convenience store after filling up their gas. With our Flares, gas stations can market anything they want through customized notifications."
Butterworth and his team built the app to allow for complete customization. Once a client signs up at www.flarecentral.com, they establish a profile, buy x amount of Flares and determine the marketing data, image, logo and name of the Flare. Clients can also instantly change or manage notifications from the cloud platform or the mobile app itself.
"We also built categories into the solution which allows the end-user to customize what they receive by enabling and disabling the categories in the mobile app on their phones. This was developed in order to avoid the end-user getting bombarded by advertisements," Butterworth said. "The end-user now has the ability to control what notifications and marketing messages they want to receive."
Another feature that Butterworth is excited about is the critical alert notification feature. As someone with school age children, this feature is of particular interest and importance and can be enabled for clients that require it.
"The critical alert notification feature can be used during an active shooter or emergency type situation," Butterworth said. "Once activated by an authorized activator, GPS is used to automatically locate the activators device. From that point, the user has three standard messages to choose from, but these can be customized: ACTIVE SHOOTER at this location TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY, Suspicious Person at this location or Danger send help. There is also a Test feature built into the solution to provide the ability to include this Critical Alert Notification feature as part of standard Code Red drills.
Once the activator selects the appropriate message, they swipe and three things happen simultaneously: The exact location address and longitude/ latitude is presented on the activators mobile phone screen, a notification will be sent to every phone with the mobile app on it that has been within certain proximity of the Flares in the specific clients profile within the last 24 hours and it triggers a call to 911. The Critical Alert Notification is sent and received within fractions of a second. The Critical Alert Notification message and detail can also be sent directly to 911 call centers if they are enabled to receive such messages.
Butterworth continued, “Think about schools, universities, stadiums, arena’s and mall’s as an example, Flares would be deployed around the location to be used in order to generate revenue through marketing, but the solution also provides clients an opportunity to immediately notify end-users of Critical Alerts in case of emergency situations."
The business model revolves around a combination of monthly / annual usage fees and device sales. The Flares, which are normally in the form of roughly 2" x 2" cubes, (other form factors are available) are sold to clients with the information pre-loaded. Butterworth and his team then load the Flares to the Flare Central platform where clients are then able to manage content. Once fully operational, the analytics feature provides clients the ability to see how many people saw their Flare messages so that clients can adjust their marketing strategies and messages accordingly.
"Everyone we talk to about our idea thinks that, if we get this right, it will be huge," Butterworth said. "The possibilities for use are endless. You could even have our Flares at doctor's offices notifying patients about disease symptoms, medication side effects and proper usage, or coupons for certain drugs."
Looking ahead, Butterworth and his team are focused on getting their app on user's phones and partnering with other companies, such as Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Facebook etc, as a way to deploy the Flare Central code on more popular apps. They know it's an uphill battle dealing with bureaucracies, like county schools, and forming partnership agreements with major corporations, but they're determined to make an impact with their technology. They want to generate significant revenue to allow them to help others, hold forums, support The Naples Accelerator and possibly start a tech scholarship. As Butterworth shared, "We want to show that the American dream is not dead."
What advice does Butterworth have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Start by looking if you can make your life better by being an entrepreneur and starting your own business," he said. "If so, work out whether investing time, effort and/or money in that business will be profitable for you. If it's not going to be profitable, think of a different solution. A friend always said, 'If you can achieve 1% of market share, you should do it'. Also, remember that an idea that you think is great, might not be great to everyone else. Know your market."