Day: 7 October 2020
They fight bullying with technology. A company founded by a FIT student is the best Czech start-up
How does it feel to be a CTO sooner than you are of legal age? Pavel Ihm knows. He founded the company with two of his grammar school classmates when he was sixteen. Currently, he is a student at FIT and the application he developed is helping pupils and schools all over the world. At the end of September, the project of a Brno-based start-up FaceUp Technology won the national finals of the Creative Business Cup international competition.
The expert jury of the competition, which is organised by Czech Invest and which selects the most innovative start-ups, was most interested in the Nenech to být (Don't let it be) application Pavel Ihm started to develop the application with his grammar school classmates four years ago. Today they lead the FaceUp Technology start-up which is developing a web system and a mobile application to fight against bullying.
"Our system is currently used by almost two thousand schools and institutions and during its existence the pupils used the application to send nearly six thousand reports," describes Pavel Ihm, who is currently in the second year of his studies at FIT. The system, the technological aspects of which he devised, is simple - pupils may share their feelings that something happens in their class, completely anonymously and outside the school environment, directly through the app or website. Information is then relayed to a teacher, psychologist or anyone else who can address the issue at the school. At the same time, this person also receives a professional guidance on how to deal with the report.
"This is no snitching. Unfortunately, bullying is fairly common in schools and even we faced the issue of silent majority during our school years, nobody was brave enough to get up and go to our class teacher, or we did not know if, how and with whom to address the issue," Pavel Ihm explains the original motivation behind the project.
The friends got the idea to develop a mobile application which would help solving similar situation when they were only sixteen. They discussed their idea with teachers and experts and they managed to get the support of the Ministry of Education, the South Moravian Innovation Centre and finally even an investor, Jiří Hlavenka.
"We introduced the application in spring 2017 at a press conference held by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. We said it would be nice if one hundred schools joined by the end of the year. In the end, we reached one hundred within a week," recalls Pavel Ihm.
In order to kickstart and operate their business, his classmates had to be emancipated. After succeeding in the Czech Republic, they decided to transform the NGO into a company called FaceUp and expand abroad. Today, they operate under this name for example in the USA, Mexico or the Republic of South Africa where the app is used also at the school which Elon Musk attended and left due to bullying.
Unfortunately, the pandemic which 'forced' pupils out of their classrooms in the last couple of months did not put an end to school bullying, it only moved it to the online environment even more than before. "We are definitely not done with schools; we want to keep working and helping in that area. But we start to focus on a new segment, companies. Even workplaces give rise to an environment where unethical behaviour or mistrust preventing people from confiding their issues occur. We created a business platform during this summer, so far we are just starting its operation but we see it has potential," Pavel Ihm describes further goals of the promising start-up.
Author: Kozubová Hana, Mgr.
Last modified: 2021-02-02T17:12:26