After Kim Gavin lost track of one of her daughters at a party, the Manhasset mother used her fear as inspiration to launch a new product that helps parents avoid similar scares.
The Monkey KID Sensor is a disposable beacon that can be fastened to a child’s clothing. It pairs with a smartphone app that alerts parents when their children wander outside of a perimeter, using geo-fencing technology. It’s proven popular with parents planning trips to Disney World.
“It’s a tool that I think a lot of parents would benefit from and there’s no judgement from having something like this, it’s just a simple extra layer of protection,” says Gavin. “We knew…people would appreciate this very simple, easy-to- use, wearable accessory that would help kids from wandering.”
The device, which launched Dec. 19, is already getting attention for its unique ability to put to rest a parent’s worst nightmare of losing a child at the park or mall and the ensuing fear that they’ve been kidnapped or worse.
She’s already in talks with ABC’s Shark Tank, has been featured on the Today show, had thousands of downloads and sold hundreds of beacons. Gavin also exhibited the device at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month, where she was one of only 50 women founders out of 800 exhibitors.
The 44-year-old married mother of two says she’s always been entrepreneurial and credits experience at her day job at Boston Scientific, an implantable medical device innovator, with helping her overcome the odds as a tech startup.
The device, which is not to be confused with The Monkey App — a chat roulette-like app recently launched by Australian teens — sells for $39 each, $69 for two or $99 for three. Each beacon lasts about four months. Parents can set the virtual fence up to 170 feet wide before their wandering children will signal a cell phone alert.
“Kids are like monkeys,” she says of her inspiration for the name. “They’re just hard to catch.”