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NIU alumni to present app on 'Shark Tank'

Mark Cuban, a cast member in the television series "Shark Tank," arrives at the Disney/ABC Television Critics Association summer press tour on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)
Mark Cuban, a cast member in the television series "Shark Tank," arrives at the Disney/ABC Television Critics Association summer press tour on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)

DeKALB – Two Northern Illinois University alumni will be featured on Friday’s episode of ABC’s “Shark Tank” to present their personal security startup company, Guard Llama.

Joe Parisi, a 2011 accounting graduate, and Adam Havey, a 2012 graduate in communication studies, launched their startup in 2015. It markets an app and keychain remote designed to alert authorities in case of an emergency.

The startup has raised about $550,000 from investors.

According to Guard Llama’s website, pressing the remote twice sends a Bluetooth signal to the Guard Llama app, which alerts the company’s emergency dispatch center. Guard Llama will then send the user’s GPS location, photo and medical information to the center and alert any emergency contacts.

Police are then dispatched, knowing the user’s appearance and location within 9 feet. Using the service, police can find someone up to three times faster than calling 911 directly, according to the website.

Guard Llama is part of Impact Engine, a Chicago-based venture fund that invests in early stage businesses that seek to improve education, health, economic empowerment and resource efficiency.

The service costs $2.95 a month for the app, $9.95 a month for the keychain remote and app, and $29.95 a month for a family plan.

Want to find out whether the two entrepreneurs got an offer from one of the “Shark Tank” investors? Tune in to ABC at 8 p.m. Friday.

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