Community & Society
A college student goes for her daily run while her mother, across the country, worries about whether she made it back to the dorm okay. A man in his wheelchair has difficulty transferring to his bed and feels better knowing that if he falls, he can quickly reach his neighbor. Or, a woman walks to her car after working late and hears footsteps behind her.
These are just some of the scenarios that Revolar, a small wearable safety and communication device, was made for, started by Jacqueline Ros after her younger sister was assaulted twice.
“We realized that there’s no time to reach for your phone when you really need help. You might not be in a position to talk to 911—you’re either trying to be discreet and potentially de-escalate a violent situation so you can’t answer questions or you’re already in an emergency and you can’t answer questions. So your loved ones are in the best position to support you,” says Ros, chief community officer and co-founder of Revolar. “At the touch of a button, Revolar sends a check-in to people you put on your contact list so they know you’re okay; makes your phone ring so you can excuse yourself from an uncomfortable situation; lets someone virtually walk you home; or send help depending on how you trigger it.” Revolar also has a step-counting feature.
“Revolar” means “to take flight again” in Spanish. “I really liked the symbolism as an ode to survivors,” says Ros whose sister and other survivors of violence, and those with chronic illness have impressed her with their ability to pick themselves up again when the going gets tough. In addition to being meaningful for the name of the technology, Ros is Cuban-Colombian and wanted the name to be a real word. “We think ‘Revolar’ goes really well with the hummingbird logo. We like to think of the hummingbird as the modern messenger bird. Back in the day, it was pigeons. A hummingbird is prettier, faster and smaller than a pigeon.”
“Pretty” is an operative word for both the Revolar Classic and the new Revolar Instinct, which are thin, sleek and can be discreetly clipped under clothing or to a purse or backpack. “A lot of people ask why it matters that it looks good and I say ‘It always matters if something looks good!’” says Ros. “You want people to feel confident and not weak or vulnerable. If our products look cool and powerful, we hope that adds more confidence to people’s steps.”
The original Revolar retails for $59.99 and the smaller Revolar Instinct costs $79.99. There is no monthly fee, only the one-time charge to purchase the device. “Our goal is to make this technology affordable and accessible while still making it beautiful so people can feel confident without breaking the bank,” explains Ros.
Ros used her college graduation money to start the patent process. She took a job with Teach For America and part-time jobs to pay the bills while getting Revolar’s first round of funding in 2014. “I’ve been working on this for five years,” says Ros. “It has been a journey—a crazy, fun, workaholic five years.”
Recently, Ros stepped down as president and CEO of her company to welcome Brian Thomas, former CEO of OtterBox, to the helm of Revolar, enabling Ros to focus on community education, engagement and grassroots efforts. “I’m the face of the company, helping educate people on how technology can improve the quality of their lives and help them communicate with their communities daily,” Ros says.
In reaching out to the community who could benefit most from Revolar’s products, Ros incorporates philanthropic efforts. “As a company, we support The National Domestic Violence Hotline. We have a partnership with them and their campaign…which teaches young people about healthy relationships so we can try to stop violence in relationships early.” Revolar has donated more than 200 of their devices to women in shelters and is working towards being able to donate them to people who are turned away from shelters.
“About 11,000 people a day get turned away from a shelter due to a lack of room and they have to go back to their violent situations after getting the courage to leave in the first place,” says Ros, quoting a study by the National Network to End Domestic Violence. “So my goal is to find a way to give it away to them.”
Revolar’s team of 20 staffers is encouraged to pursue philanthropic causes that are meaningful to them. Ros sits on the board of the Aurora school where she used to teach to help them fundraise for literacy, a new playground and other needs that support the school’s low income population.
Ros’s sister, who is now a nurse, and her mother, moved from their native Florida to Colorado to be with Ros. “My job, my life and my business are in Colorado so they moved out here,” says Ros.” I couldn’t have done it without their love and support. My sister’s our biggest fan so it’s totally worth it.”
800 N. Grant St., Ste. 120
Denver, CO 80203-2987
Jacqueline Ros, chief community officer and co-founder of Revolar Inc., which makes
small, wearable safety and communication devices that sell for $59.99 and $79.99.
Available nationwide from revolar.com, amazon.com, target.com and in more than 200 Target stores.
Courtney Drake-McDonough is a Colorado-based writer and editor who has contributed to Colorado Expression, Colorado Parent, The Denver Post and several national outlets including Watchboom.com, RealFoodTraveler.com and Vie Magazine. She’s also a social media manager and founder of the InGoodTasteDenver blog, providing news and reviews of restaurants, arts and travel.
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