Rachelle Best, a South African entrepreneur creating an app to help parents manage their children’s online safety — Lionesses of Africa

What inspired you to start your company?

To start with, I’m the mom of a teenage daughter. She’s 15 years old, which means that I understand the challenges of parenting in the digital world too well. She is mainly the reason we started developing FYI play it safe. When I started thinking about giving her a mobile phone, I did research on any apps that could help with protecting her online but couldn’t find anything that was quite good enough. I also couldn’t find anything that will tell me what was really going on, and that would warn me if she was exposed to any harmful situations. At the same time, I wanted her to feel that I respect her privacy and that I trust her. Hence, apps that would give me full access to her messages were out of the question.

I realized that other parents may struggle with the same questions, and lack of answers, and embarked on a research study in 2018. My hypotheses was correct in that 99% of parents who participated in the study were worried about the dangers associated with social media platforms and the open world of the internet, but none knew how to deal with it in a way that will provide them with the right level of comfort.

That’s how FYI play it safe was born. I wanted to develop an app that would protect our children’s online, alert parents when there is something to worry about, but at the same time respect our children’s privacy. We launched our first prototype at the beginning of 2020, but quickly realized that we needed to change the technology completely and officially launched FYI play it safe  in May 2021.

Why should anyone use your service or product?

FYI play it safe is the only app in the world that monitors every single app that children are using. It uses artificial intelligence to analyze the content of what children are engaging with and alerts parents when there is anything to worry about.

Because we use natural language processing and machine learning technologies, FYI play it safe also keeps updated with the latest in teen slang.

Tell us a little about your team

We run a very lean team and most of our functions are outsourced. Our lead software engineer is a South African based in the United Kingdom. The development team all works virtually and are from around the world.

Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And do you come from an entrepreneurial background?

From a young age, I was very interested in technology. At the age of 12 I bought my very first computer with pocket money and started exploring with simple programs to solve problems. I studied part-time to become a Chartered Accountant and joined one of the big-4 accounting firms as undergraduate in their technology risk team. This created more curiosity into the bigger technology field. When I finished my studies and qualified as CA(SA), I wanted to expand my horizons and completed a degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. My journey led me to become a business consultant, solving complex problems for organisations. When I encountered a problem in my personal and parenting life that I didn’t have an immediate answer to, I had to develop the solution myself, which I’m very proud to say is now called FYI play it safe.

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