Mark Jeffrey traces the origins of Guardian Circle—the 911-type emergency service he’s building—to the day he received some garbled text messages from his girlfriend. He went to her house and found her on the floor of her garage, experiencing what appeared to be a stroke. “She could barely talk, half her body had shut down, and she was blind in one eye,” Jeffrey recalls. He rushed her to the hospital, where doctors determined that she was experiencing a type of migraine that often presents as a stroke.
“She’s fine—I always feel like I need to add that when I tell the story,” Jeffrey says. “But what if it hadn’t been a stroke? Timing would’ve been everything. If she hadn’t gotten to the hospital, she would’ve died. I later found out that help was all around her. There were, like, eight people she knew within a thousand yards. I figured there was an app for this. There were a lot of panic-button apps, but nothing that put together a map and an alert system, and organized a response.”