The Prompt Byte: Rising Stars – Rejjee
The Prompt Byte: Rising Stars – Rejjee
Working in technology hubs on either side of the pond, at Prompt we’re always keen to get to know more about the innovators on our doorsteps in Boston and London. Each week, we’ll interview a local startup to learn more about technology and inspiration that can be found at home.
Recently, we chatted with Gary O’Neil, founder and CEO of Rejjee – a crowd-sourced lost-and-found platform set to revolutionize the way you find and replace your most prized possessions.
1. Tell us a bit about Rejjee.
Rejjee is in a category all by itself. We register, report and then replace stolen or lost goods through the use of a smartphone application. We are the first digital platform in lost and found that brings the added bonus of matching users with replacement partners — ensuring that their lost or stolen goods will be returned to them one way or the other.
We work closely with insurance companies, law enforcement and retailers and the platform is free to use for retailers and the community. There is also a public incident-mapping feature — so you can report a stolen item in real time and alert others in the area.
Unlike other finder applications, this is not a battery-driven device vulnerable to technology or process mishaps. It is a complete free SaaS system anybody can use. You can even use Rejjee to find your lost puppy.
- What does innovation mean to you?
My partner and I started in the ad world years ago. In that world, we use the word ‘creativity.’ Creativity and innovation are two words that run parallel; but innovation goes a step further — the step of usefulness. If you can merge creativity and innovation, you have something special.
- Why is New England such a hotbed for innovation?
New England celebrates education beyond belief. It is a perfect place for innovation, because it is all coming out of our universities. The churn of students, professors and ideas is enormous — it drives us all.
The West Coast is sunny, but our development and innovation district is fantastic. If you were holding a light bulb as you emerged from the “T”, it feels as if it could be lit just from the energy in the air. You can’t replace that.
- Do you have any concerns about the New England growth and innovation culture?
The biggest problem for everybody is money. We need to build upon the investor community — angels, VCs — all of that. And you need money to drive that. You have to feed the engine, and the energy is money. Money enables creativity. The investors we’ve spoken with have provided invaluable feedback, but the fact remains that West-Coast deals have more zeros than East Coast deals. It’s the only thing holding the area back.
- What are some of the trends and challenges you’ve seen in the New England tech scene?
Of course, medical innovation is rooted here in New England. But, its also worth looking at what the younger generation is doing — social apps and their revenue streams.
The collaborative nature of the actual people in New England is fabulous. More collaborating is welcome by everybody in the technology community.
But, we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what Boston can do. The 2024 Olympics would be an excellent stage to showcase this.
- If you weren’t based in New England, which city and/or country would you want to be based in and why?
I would be in Key West. Of course, there is no innovation economy there … I’d just be sitting down with Jimmy Buffet, learning to love margaritas. To me, Boston is the only place to be. The churn, diversity, and the city itself is gorgeous — it has everything.
- If you could meet any single innovator (alive or dead) over a coffee, who would you want to meet?
Jonathan Ive from Apple.
- Name a piece of technology you’ve bought personally that you love — either recently or in the past — and why you bought it.
My smartphone. My MacBook Air. My Garmin multifunction display for my boat — it does everything. Though, I think the fish display is only designed to make me buy more Goldfish.