Q&A With Make It Home Safe Founder & CEO Carlton Vreen
Tell me about the moment that sparked the idea for your product? The moment that sparked the idea for Make it Home Safe was the moment my son drove off the driveway by himself for the first time (I still have a vivid image in my mind) and the fear of knowing the risk he faces because he’s driving while black.
How did you explore creating it? I examined my own fears and the fear of other black parents and researched the protocol and systems that law enforcement use and what would bring me peace of mind if my son was stopped by police. I also explored how police feel about traffic stops and discovered that they have fears and concerns too.
Why are you the best person to champion this product? There is a well-documented problem between police and people of color being hurt or killed during traffic stops; and I have the answer. I am an African American male and a husband and father of four children. I know the fears and concerns of having your children or loved ones stopped by police. I have been a victim of police overreaction and racial profiling myself. I know the fear of having a police officer point his gun at me and the thought of losing my life for following his commands to retrieve my license, insurance and registration information. I have also been profiled at an airport rental car counter on my way to a prayer breakfast and suffered the humiliation and degradation of being told to get out of the car to be strip searched on the side of the highway with several police cars on the scene.
What were some aspects of the processes that surprised you? Nothing has really surprised me. I knew I had a great idea to increase safety and help save lives and that it would disrupt the current process which would create resistance.
How did you make sure your product was a reflection of your target audience’s needs? I am the target audience. I also did a survey, and the answers were the same, fear of their child or loved one being stopped by police.
How does AlphaLab help you reach your goals? AlphaLab has helped me in every aspect and phase of a new startup. The resources and structure they provide for Startups is critical for success. Their commitment to the success of my Startup is priceless!
What is next? What’s next is to engage the public and solicit partnerships with grassroots organizations, political, social and business leaders to inform them a tool exists that increases safety and peace of mind for citizens and police and leverage those relationships to gain adoption by law enforcement.
What is the most important thing for readers to know about what Make it Home Safe does and how that’s beneficial to users? The most important thing that Make it Home Safe does is provide real-time remote identification and collaboration between citizens and police before police approach the vehicle on foot and notifies loved ones of the police stop and location.
How can consumers follow you? They can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.