Becca Hume: Founder of TapSOS, Helping People with Disabilities in Emergencies – Ep. 48

TAPSOS FULL VIDEO INTERVIEW:

Becca Hume is the founder of TapSOS, an app that provides a non–verbal way to connect with emergency services.

A chance encounter with a deaf coworker when Becca was working in retail at the age of 16 led her down a path that would ultimately see her founding a company to give persons with disabilities access to emergency services.

If you’re able to speak or hear, you take for granted that you can pick up the phone and dial 911 here in the US or 999 where she’s from in Belfast.

But for 650 million people with disabilities around the world, these critical moments are not easy or even possible. Becca Hume has made it her life’s mission to change the outdated emergency support systems, fundamentally improving the way we all get access to help.

She’s also developing new technology to help victims of domestic abuse get help discreetly. In short, her mission is something that we ALL need to get behind, and it’s time for the world to catch up.

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EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:

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8:56 – “I wasn’t setting off to do a big, massive, world-changing product or service transformation. It was just like an exploration, I just kind of set off a bit of an idea and a journey for myself thinking what can be done and what can you do?”

10:29 – “Another friend of mine was a car accident, and he realized—he was profoundly deaf—and he relied on the other individual who crashed into him to phone the police.”

16:35 – “I think like any business or startup business, they say funding is the most difficult thing, particularly here in the UK. I think in America the landscape is a little bit different. People take more risks where I think we’re a little bit timid here in the funding world.”

19:43 – “Once we started sharing or pitching on different events, people would come to me at the end of it and say, You know, you do mention the deaf community, but I can see how this could benefit me.”

21:42 – “…we had TapSOS at this point, but still an area I felt needed to improve was those reporting domestic abuse. And our app, as you can see, TapSOS is very obvious you’re tapping for assistance. And those who experience domestic use can’t have something so obvious on their phone.”

28:24 – “I was really looking at how people communicate during high-stress circumstances, and I was listening for verbally communicating or texting or writing things down. How do people interact? And it come up on top that visual communication was so much more manageable.”

39:28 – “I do believe strongly that there will be a way to keep it sustainable. I think particularly for TapSOS, I was very uncomfortable with charging the end user. The public feel that it’s a free service. It’s not free. Their mobile providers pay on their behalf. But for the public, we think this is something that needs to be free.”

52:02 – “We wanted to make sure that children could use this to you, because we often find that children aren’t really considered in the process. And very often—I think it’s something like 70 percent, if not more, of the cases—that are reported children have witnessed.”

55:49 – “Just give it a go, I think my parents were always just very motivational to say, ‘Well, why not try it?’”

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