Merideth Schut­ter

BC Business Magazine - - Sfu Beedie School Of Business -

FOUNDER AND CEO, PRO­TECT

Real­tor Merideth Schut­ter’s en­tre­pre­neur­ial ven­ture also re­sulted from a

per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence con­cern­ing safety. In 2013, Schut­ter, a Van­cou­ver agent with Re/max Canada, was show­ing an open house when two men en­tered, locked the door and tried to at­tack her. By­standers in­ter­vened, but the in­ci­dent stuck with Schut­ter.

“I thought to my­self, ‘Well, I’m either go­ing to leave this job and do some­thing dif­fer­ent, or I need to have a so­lu­tion,’” she says at Re/max’s Ker­ris­dale of­fices. “Ob­vi­ously I have tons of friends in this busi­ness, and they’ve had nu­mer­ous sit­u­a­tions where we’ve all thought to our­selves, ‘Some­thing needs to change.’”

So Schut­ter hired a group of male soft­ware de­vel­op­ers in their early 20s to build an app that lets users con­nect with their clos­est con­tacts and alert them in un­fa­mil­iar or emer­gency sce­nar­ios. Pro­tect com­bines mo­bile tech­nol­ogy and per­sonal net­works to act as a vir­tual se­cu­rity guard, and its uses go well be­yond the real es­tate in­dus­try. “I have a 13-year-old daugh­ter, and she uses it al­most ev­ery day,” Schut­ter says. “The youth that are striv­ing for in­de­pen­dence, they want to take the bus, they want to go with their friends, but as par­ents we still live with this ner­vous feel­ing that they’re still lit­tle girls out rolling around.”

The app has only been on the mar­ket for about four months, but Schut­ter is al­ready start­ing to step away from the real es­tate busi­ness to look af­ter Pro­tect (and the com­pany’s five other em­ploy­ees). Her con­nec­tion with Re/max will prob­a­bly re­main strong, though: the agency has adopted the app for all of its real­tors in Western Canada, with plans to take it across the coun­try and to head of­fice in Den­ver.

“I had a chat to­day with the VP of Re/max Western Canada,” Schut­ter notes. “He said, ‘You know, I don’t want it ex­clu­sive; at the end of the day I want all the [other real es­tate] brands to adopt this.’”

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