Flower Power

Keeping Watch

What: A watch equipped with a GPS to track children
Who: Timothy Neher of Wherify Wireless Inc.
Where: Redwood Shores, California
When: Started in 1998

When Timothy Neher lost track of his niece and nephew at an amusement park a few years ago, he felt "that panic feeling that every parent feels." Thankfully, he found them--but Neher, 37, wondered what parents would do if they didn't know where their child was.

Neher's idea for Wherify Wireless Inc. was born. He envisioned a device with a GPS that could pinpoint a child's location within minutes. Today, his vision is embodied in the Wherify product--a wristwatch that can only be unlocked either manually with a key fob or remotely through the Internet or over the phone. Sold for about $399, the product comes in a variety of colors and designs, making it fun and fashionable for the 4- to 12-year-old kids it's designed to protect. Customers must sign up and pay for the monthly service, which lets them check on their children via phone or the company's Web site (www.wherify.com).

With a background in developing and marketing products, Neher raised $10 million in venture capital in 1998. His product is sold nationwide through retailers such as CompUSA and The Good Guys, and Neher expects 970,000 subscribers by 2005.

"We're scratching the tip of the iceberg with this technology," says Neher. Future plans include Wherify locators designed for the elderly, joggers, hikers and pets.

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This article was originally published in the May 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Flower Power.

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