App founders Gabriel Brown, Morgan Saville, and Geno Racklin AsherGabriel Brown with permission for Varsity

Three King’s College alumni have created a new safety app as an outlet for students uncomfortable with calling emergency services.

Flare - Stay Safeallows users to send pre-written emergency messages to trusted contacts over text, either through the app or by tapping a notification on their phone’s lock screen.

The project was initially created for student protesters, but its designers quickly realised its potential for wider safety use.

The app was created by King’s College alumni Gabriel Brown, Morgan Saville and Geno Racklin Asher, with the group wanting to create an outlet for students who did not feel comfortable calling the emergency services.

Speaking to Varsity, CEO Gabriel Brown said the app was originally thought of as a “tool for activist and protester safety”.

Brown explained: “We spoke to lots of students around us who really resonated with an easy-to-use emergency messaging system as a tool for personal safety in situations beyond activism.”

Brown added that his experiences as a Cambridge student had inspired the app’s creation saying: “I’ve certainly worried in Cambridge about safety. I can think of specific instances where I’ve felt threatened late at night but, more generally, Cambridge is a dark city.”

“I really hope that Flare can give people that added layer of confidence in their visibility,” he continued.

Explaining the app, Brown said: “Flare can be used to quickly and discreetly send messages with very little effort.”

“All that’s required is a tap on your phone’s lock screen. From reporting spiking to a friend to letting a loved one know you arrived at your destination safely, our hope is that Flare can cover a broad range of safety concerns on university campuses,” he added.

Mr Brown also described challenges in the app’s development with it taking “over 2 months” for Flare to be approved by the App Store.

He added that the extra time had allowed the founders to build “really strong connections and partnerships” with students’ unions and groups across the country.


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Mr Brown explained: “We don’t want Flare to become simply a checkbox exercise for big organisations, and so we’re really motivated to engage with real users and grassroots movements to feed growth.”

Last month, Flare - Stay Safe announced Cambridge’s Trinity College Student Union as one of its new partners.

Ruby Cline, a third-year student at Murray Edwards and a user of the app told Varsity that “having the app feels like a safety mechanism you never want to use, but always want to have.”

“Any system to make my friends and I feel safer appeals to me. The convenience of it - not needing to unlock your phone to send the emergency text - is vital,” she said.