Interview with digital entrepreneur Jake Street

22-year old Jake Street is developing an app, to be installed on children’s devices, which is able to identify social attacks such as cyberbullying, grooming and exposure to distressing content.

What’s your career background?

I started my business directly from university, I studied computer security and forensics at Nottingham Trent University.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

The idea for the business came from experiencing the attacks online and seeing that other students had been experiencing these attacks.

How did you move from idea to actual business?

I tested out the theory of the idea within my final year project at university, and following the successes of the project I decided it was something that could be launched commercially.

What’s your USP?

As most current solutions (website blocking) completely ban a child’s access to a website my solution is focused at use cases where a parent may want a child to still be able to access a website while still being monitored (i.e. social media).

Who’s your target audience?

My target audience is parents with children from the age they get their first internet connected device to around 14 years old.

How do you spread the word about what you do?

I mostly spread the word throughout the university (and some local press), however I am predominantly focused on developing the system at this stage.

What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

Taking the risk to start my own business (financial insecurity) without the full knowledge of if the system will work as planned.

And your proudest moment so far?

The vast improvement of the system over the last year with the introduction of machine learning and the inclusion of android devices.

Why is work so important to you?

I feel that the threats that children face online are often just not made clear to parents and the vast majority of parents believe that their child will speak to them if they have experienced an attack, especially in the case of grooming.

This is also important at this current time as the Internet Watch Foundation has reported a 77% rise of child “self generated abuse material” in 2020, as a perceived impact of the pandemic. 

Who inspires you?

I have been inspired by my enterprise advisor for support he has given me for the last year. I also am inspired by all the young innovators on this programme who have such great ambition to solve problems.

What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?

  1. Be honest with yourself about the feasibility of your idea (speaking to a business advisor will help with this).
  2. Constantly review what work you are doing, it is easy to focus on elements that are not critical or elements that give you tunnel vision.
  3. Don’t be afraid of failure, if anything you should seek opportunities to fail.

Jake is one of this year’s Young Innovator Award winners. The Award programme, from Innovate UK and The Prince’s Trust, recognise young people from across the UK with great business ideas who have the potential to become successful entrepreneurs and future leaders in innovation.