Creating LOIS Safety Software System

Read the whole story on Creating LOIS Safety Software System and watch the video clip, below, filmed by @Ground+swell!

As the founder and CEO of the LOIS Safety System, I’m often asked what prompted me to create the software in the first place. Although it’s been documented elsewhere, I have never really explained in detail what happened to me and how it has lead to the invention of LOIS.

I have been in the real estate industry for 13 years. I am a licensed realtor in Michigan as well as a broker in the state of Florida. Four years ago I had decided to move to Florida full time and work on my brokerage. I was excited to be in a new area and embarking on growing my real estate business.

One of the first potential clients I came into contact with was a gentleman who called our office asking about townhomes in Satellite Beach, FL. He seemed to be interested in one in particular and had asked to see it that same day. At the time it was only myself and my partner working for my brokerage. We had no established safety policy in place. I decided to meet with this potential client later in the day. I set up the appointment to show the property and found out it was vacant.

I remember asking my male counterpart to please go with me on the appointment but he had other obligations so was not able to accompany me. So I set off for the showing. Of course I was excited about the prospect of a sale and was not really thinking in terms of safety. I showed up at the showing and saw a man get out of a very beat up looking car. The townhome was in the $400k price range so this was my first clue something might be off. But, you can’t judge a book by its cover so I proceeded to greet him and open the lockbox on the door. While I was doing so he was talking to me and kept repeating himself. He kept asking me if the property was a townhome and what the taxes were. I answered but the hair on the back of my neck stood up. Something inside of me was telling me there was something off about this individual.

I lead the man into the townhome and stayed behind him the whole time. I kept the door open and did not go upstairs with him. He kept asking me to come upstairs but I said that I had a bad back and couldn’t make it up there. He continued to ask the same questions and then started on a rant about his ex-wife. This is when I knew that I could be in serious trouble. I told him the owners would be back soon, even though the house was vacant and obviously staged, in the hopes he would want to leave right away.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he followed me outside to my car, still repeating nonsensical things about his ex-wife and the taxes on the condo. He also smelled like alcohol. He did not let me into my car and was standing very close to me and asked me if there were any other townhomes where we could ‘go inside’ in the neighborhood. I told him yes just to get him to let me into my car and told him to meet me at an address down the street. Once there I was able to call him and tell him that the owners would not let us do the showing and that we could have to come back. I sped off and never looked back.

Once back safely at my office, I looked up this man online. He had a police record for drunk driving as well as assault. I was traumatized and had a friend stay with me that night. I realized that no one knew where I was, who I was meeting, and when I was supposed to be done with the showing. If that man had decided to assault me in some way, I may have not been found for some time. Especially since the house was vacant. This incident prompted me to look for a software application that could track my whereabouts when out with strangers, often in empty homes or buildings. I didn’t find anything that could help me, so I decided to create it!

Often times the worst situations in our lives give birth to the most amazing ideas. I am grateful every day that I was not harmed in that situation. But I know others have not been so lucky. It is my mission to make LOIS the most comprehensive safety application available and to help anyone who might feel unsafe in any situation, especially while out trying to make a living. In doing so, I hope to make this world that much safer and give people a greater piece of mind.

LOIS Safety Software Founder is interviewed by @Ground+swell!

LOIS Safety Software founder, Avery Piantedosi is interviewed by Groundswell C.E.O, LOIS Safety SoftwareJenna Buehler about the pre-launch of LOIS. The interview was done a few months ago but has relevant information regarding LOIS, what it’s like to be a startup on the Space Coast of Florida, and Groundswell, a high tech incubator located in Central Florida.

Groundswell is a community of startup catalysts who work with entrepreneurs to navigate the challenges of starting and building early-stage companies. Our goal is to help grow companies, provide access and introductions to funding sources, generate jobs, and help the Space Coast startup ecosystem realize its vast potential as one of the world’s most concentrated clusters of engineers and scientists. Enjoy!

LOIS Safety Software Founder Wins InnovateHER Pitch Competition!

20151120_204352LOIS personal safety application founder Wins InnovateHER Pitch Competition! MELBOURNE, FLA. — weVENTURE, the Central Florida-based organization focused on the entrepreneurial needs of women and powered by Florida Institute of Technology, recently hosted two InnovateHER Pitch Competitions in coordination with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Microsoft and Ground+swell.Avery Piantedosi of Melbourne and Frances Titus of Orlando won the competitions.

Piantedosi is the founder of “LOIS,” a safety app originally developed for female Realtors. After having a frightening personal experience showing a town home to an aggressive client, Piantedosi saw the need to create a mobile, personal safety app that would automatically notify police and loved ones of immediate danger.

Earth’s Love Tea Co. produces instant tea to increase milk supply in nursing women. Company founder Frances Titus worked with formulator Emily Ruff, director of the Florida School of Holistic Living, to create this innovative new product. The instant tea consists of traditional Galactagogue herbs that have been used throughout history to increase milk supply in nursing women.

Supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the 2016 InnovateHER pitch competition focuses on services and products that have a positive impact on the lives of women and families. In line with this year’s theme, of ideas that impact women and families, each competing business must have a measurable impact in that area, as well as have the potential for commercialization and be able to fill a need in the marketplace.

At each competition, there were 10 presenting finalists. The winner of each competition, selected by a group of independent judges, is now in the running to be selected by the SBA to compete for national awards and prize money totaling $70,000 in Washington, D.C., at the national InnovateHER Finals on March 17, co-sponsored by Microsoft.

“At weVENTURE, we are focused on providing the calibrated tools, insights and resources our clients need to create and sustain sustainable growth,” said weVENTURE Executive Director Beth Gitlin. “Events like InnovateHER highlight the incredible outcomes these clients are able to achieve.”

Gitlin added that she is confident that Piantedosi and Titus will set a strong example for other women seeking to start and grow their own innovative businesses in Central Florida.

“LOIS is going to potentially save lives,” Piantedosi said. “Today, 70 percent of attacks that happen during real estate transactions are against women. But there are many that will benefit from it. I look forward to bringing this new app to the masses.”

Titus added, “The impact weVENTURE has had on me personally and on my business in a short amount of time is profound. I am more focused. I have the weVENTURE team to thank for this honor.”

“Winning this competition has given me the validation I needed to move forward with great confidence,” she said.

Originally posted by WeVENTURES Woman’s Business Center at Florida Tech.