Alexander Štefuca introduces LIFEBUTTON

A driver stops his car at the side of the road due to a sudden health problem. How can LIFEBUTTON help in this situation? What do passing drivers do when they see a car with hazard lights on? How will SOS signaling change their behavior? Watch our video and find out.

This way, we would also like to thank Mr. Štefuca and Mr. Križko for their help with filming this video. Mr. Štefuca helped us by moderating, writing the script, and producing the video in cooperation with Mr. Križko. Both gentlemen did their work without asking for compensation with the intention to support a good idea. Thanks again, it’s very appreciated.

Everything starts with an IDEA

You know the feeling when an idea comes to your mind and you just can’t seem to get it out of your head. And what if your idea could save lives?

I have always liked FORBES magazine’s slogan: idea, business, story. If you take these three seemingly unrelated words and combine it into one concept, they will completely change your life. As you have probably guessed by now, everything starts with an idea, that’s how things work. And how did we come up with our idea?

“The important thing is to never stop questioning.”

Albert Einstein

Whether you are a driver or not, I am sure you have already seen a car with its flashers (also known as hazard lights) turned on. Every driver must have already used them at least once. Maybe you stopped on a roadside because you had a flat tire. Or you stopped in front of a shop when you were waiting for your wife, you had to make a phone call or enter an address into your GPS system. Turning on the hazard lights is actually quite common.

One day, my colleagues and I were driving back from a company event and, suddenly, we had to slow down. We got into a traffic jam; we were driving probably 30-40 mph. The first car in the tailback was a silver sedan zigzagging in the lane. After a while, the car moved to the roadside and turned the flashers on. We all overtook the car and my colleagues and I started discussing why the driver stopped. We almost immediately thought: What if the sedan’s driver was in distress? Had we known it for sure, we would have definitely stopped and helped. It’s not just our legal obligation, it’s our moral obligation. But how do you let others know that you’re having a heart attack, hypoglycemia, epileptic fit, or that you’ve been stung by a bee and got a severe allergic reaction? The phone is on the back seat somewhere in your bag, you may be losing conscience, sight or sense of coordination. Sometimes, everything happens too quickly and you just don’t have the strength to call an ambulance. What can you do?

We wanted to create something to let passers-by know that you are in danger and in need of help. Another factor was that whatever we come up with needs to be understandable all over the world and easy to use. Remember Morse code? Remember the famous SOS distress signal that you usually see in movies or maybe you’ve been taught to use at a summer camp? To make it easy to use, we took the most visible components already included in the car – headlights and tail lights, and to add sound to the signal, we used the car horn. And so the idea started to come to life. If it can save at least one life, then our work was meaningful.

LIFEBUTTON Made in Slovakia

How to turn an idea into a global initiative sold internationally?

I don’t have a secret manual for success, probably nobody does. Business is like a road where you never know what’s behind the next turn. The decision to start doing business and become a startup (a new innovative company with its own product or service) is very hard, but for me it’s also very interesting and instructive. The initial idea creates just 1% of a company’s success. The remaining 99% is a lot of work that cannot be summed up in any manual.

″Simple is not stupid. Simple is genius.″

Warren Buffett

I can’t describe how amazing I felt when we filled in the patent application form. When I realized that we created something new. A product that actually solves a problem and it’s so simple that it’s genius. We were becoming businessmen.

But where to start after you’ve filed the patent application? Start looking for an investor or talk to carmakers? We had nothing tangible, no prototype, we had no idea how the market would react or whether people would even be interested in the product. We had so many questions and literally no answers. We looked at our contact lists and looked for somebody who could help us make the next step. Now we know very well that it’s all about the product, people and marketing.

We’ve found our first mentor and had a vague idea what to do next. We started working on a prototype and created a support group to gather as many enthusiasts as possible. Then, we had many meetings, made many phone calls and sent many emails. We created a vision of how to develop the project. Six months after we had the initial idea, we entered the pre-production stage. We want to manufacture the product in Slovakia. Soon, we will start with homologation; we plan to start selling the product on the market in Q3 in 2018. So there’s still work to do. In April, we will attend two interesting events related to innovations – Tech Inno Day 2018 organized by the Slovak University of Technology Bratislava and FORBES 30UNDER30. We encourage you to attend both events; you will meet many interesting people who decided to take the same road as you did. We are very excited and hope that others will be excited by our idea as well.

One of our supporters is MUDr. Viliam Dobiáš, medical doctor and President of the Slovak Red Cross. We asked him to make a short statement which you can watch here: