The terrible headlines have been constant: Iowa, Florida, Aruba ... everywhere. Like many of you, we were outraged by and fed up with the continual sexual assaults and senseless murders of innocent women and children. We decided we had to do something about it. Having written nearly a dozen business plans together since we first met as business school interns, we began to research possible deterrents to these crimes. We found that most of these deterrents, which involved locating children through GPS technology, were unaffordable to the average family. We agreed that knowing the location of the child was important, but even more important was simply knowing when the child was in trouble. We set out to provide a notification deterrent that was affordable and could protect as many children as possible. We came up with the idea of Push 5, a one-touch personal panic button that works on most cell phones, and immediately alerts friends and family if you're in trouble.
Like most ideas, the development of Push 5 was a cooperative process. We credit Ken's wife, Barbara, for the idea of focusing on a cell-phone based safety solution. Along the way, we had a number of extremely talented friends and associates join in the process, and it was their efforts that drove Push 5 forward. In particular, the genius and creativity of our CTO, Dan Melchione, turned Push 5 into a reality. And our consumer marketing vice president, Dione Chen, developed "best practices" to help assist people in Missing Person cases. We know that the solutions we've come up with are not perfect. They will not work in every situation. It is, however, our hope and prayer, that Push 5 can and will help in many situations.
Our company name, Boma, is an African word. When Ken worked in the Peace Corps in the region formerly known as the Congo, the natives planted bushes around his hut. When the rainy season came, the bushes grew into a thicket creating a living fence that helped protect him from lions and leopards. The word boma means an enclosure used to protect people from predators. We chose the name Boma for our company because protecting women and children from predators has always been our most important mission. We hope that the deterrents our company provides are one more small step toward creating a safer environment where no one ever needs to use system like Push 5 in the future.
Alan Larson and Ken Tam
Boma and Push 5 co-founders
bo·ma  (plural bo·mas)
- ZULU enclosure: in South Africa, an enclosure for protecting the vulnerable from predators
- KISWAHILI enclosure: in Central Africa, a protective enclosure often made of brambles or thickets