So you’re a startup founder at an event crawling with potential investors, when suddenly, an old acquaintance corners you to discuss his latest project.
As he drones on, you look past him and, to your horror, see one of your top prospects heading for the exit.
“I think I’ve actually missed someone who was walking out the door because I got caught talking to someone about something, and it was just really hard to get out of it,” says Ivan Lukianchuk, who thinks he’s hit upon an effective – not to mention hilarious – solution.
Billed as “an eject button for bad situations,” Lukianchuk has developed This Is Your Out – TIYO, for short – a Bluetooth-enabled key fob that you can press to make a call to your mobile phone.
Not only will your phone ring, but it’ll play a repeat-after-me script to ensure you make a tactful escape from that bad date, obnoxious boss, nagging parent, boring old classmate – the list goes on.
On Tuesday, Lukianchuk launched a 30-day Indiegogo campaign to raise $100,000 to begin production of the device. A $35 pledge gets you one TIYO and 25 calls, while the $69 “I Hate Everyone” edition includes 365 calls (other packages are available).
TIYO is the latest adventure for Lukianchuk, a Waterloo Region resident whose last startup, Will Pwn 4 Food, was in the inaugural cohort of Communitech’s HYPERDRIVE accelerator when it launched in 2012.
Lukianchuk’s knack for pitching helped win him an interview at Y Combinator and top honours at such events as Montreal’s International Startup Festival, but ultimately wasn’t enough to give Will Pwn 4 Food, an online gaming-for-money platform, the legs it needed.
With TIYO, the Waterloo computer science grad hopes to change all that, with a generous dash of humour thrown in for good measure.
Note: If the guy in the bad-date video looks familiar, it’s because he’s Matt Gardner, co-founder of HYPERDRIVE alum startup Groupnotes, whose team recently changed direction to develop Videostream, a highly successful Chrome app for Google Chromecast users.
This article first appeared in Communitech.