Q&A with Andres Kukawka, Founder & CEO/CTO at Otorize
What does Otorize do?
Kukawka: Otorize is a simple app that can detect impairment in seconds. It is NOT intrusive, NOT biological, NOT chemical, it does NOT use membranes or filters and there is NO need for maintenance. Being a cognitive test, 100% digital, IT IS effective in detecting impairment caused by any substance: alcohol, cannabis, drugs, and more. Otorize is a Health and Safety solution in the Workplace Safety and Transportation Safety verticals.
The Recreational Cannabis regulation of the last few years challenges the current paradigm of measuring substance residuals as the preferred enforcement tool. When dealing with alcohol and/or cannabis testing using breathalyzers is the regulators’ preferred method. However, it doesn’t test for impairment, it just tests and determines the substance’s residual level in an individual’s system, then depending on the legal limit it is determined if it is legal or not. In the case of cannabis or any other drug, testing for substance residual is not the right approach. As drug residuals do not point to impairment, they only point to use and can be detected in one’s systems days and even weeks after use. Then when use is legal, then the arrest is illegal!
The App, at first set-up, will run a baseline process to determine the subject’s measurement to compare against when tested. The unique, patented, set of algorithms will run the 3-5-minute process ensuring accuracy. The algorithms are able to determine if the individual is not sober, or at his/her best when taking the baseline, and stop the process. The baseline is a one-time requirement, but the individual can re-baseline him/herself at their will.
The market verticals we envision are:
* A driver safety app that can determine if a person is ‘fit to drive’ before they get behind the wheel.
* A workplace safety solution to help employers test employees for impairment before they enter the premises or during the work-day.
What is your product based on? What science is behind it?
Kukawka: We use a cognitive test from the field of Psychiatry and Psychology proven to be able and detect impairment regardless of substance. In 2012/2013 a research team from Adelaide Univ., Australia conducted a clinical trial in which they proved the correlation of success/failure in these tests (6 of them) to BAC levels and impairment.
After we researched the different tests, we selected the one that was categorized as the most sensitive of the 6 and we digitized it onto a digital platform. We then ran our own Field Test to test the digital solution against the proven science.
How can an insurance company benefit from using it?
Kukawka: By encouraging and promoting accident prevention, Otorize can help in reducing Loss Ratio and Managing the risk. Good PR and the fact we are saving injury, damages, and lives.
Like with other similar solutions, GreenBox, Mobileye and such, the insurance company could give policy discounts, condition the use of Otorize for repeat offenders or young drivers or danger prone fleet drivers (public transportation, heavy equipment operators) and alike.
How can it be used by other industries?
Kukawka: Any workplace that is looking to prevent accidents is a great candidate for Otorize.
Obviously, any company managing fleets of trucks, cars, Heavy Equipment and such. Any workplace running manufacturing/assembly lines, sensitive equipment or materials and such would not want to have impaired workers enter their premises and operate equipment.
Any corporation doing business in the countries and states that have legalized recreational marijuana cannot ignore the potential for accidents that has doubled now that not only alcohol is legal but also marijuana.
Are there any privacy violation dangers?
Kukawka: Otorize’s platform is 100% anonymous, meaning we do not hold any private information. No names, email, phone numbers, addresses, nothing.
The platform works on the basis of tokenized identification and that is what the data is tracked against.
The company/employer is the one that makes the connection between the token we give to their Human Resources’ systems.
What deals have you signed so far?
Kukawka: We are engaged to execute a number of commercial pilots and are always looking for more companies to join.
We moved away from the paradigm of measuring substance residuals, like breathalyzers, saliva tests and blood tests and comparing them to a “legal” limit, which is usually set by politicians, not scientists. We call it the “Let’s measure something” paradigm.
We switch the paradigm, and bring a solution that tests and detects impairment, regardless of substance, without any need for bodily fluids (i.e., no DNA). We accomplish it by using a cognitive test on a 100% digital platform, fully anonymous.
Effective, efficient, and cost friendly together allows and empowers parents, individuals, and corporations to implement Otorize and prevent accidents, BEFORE injury or fatality. All of it in 5 second(!).
What investments were made in the company?
Kukawka: Otorize received investment from an Angel from Boulder, CO., USA. Altogether, Otorize has raised $500,000 till today.
Tell me about your professional back ground.
Kukawka: I am an international senior management and technology consulting professional
within the Information Technology industry and business. I Bring varied start-up experience in areas of SW Product Development (1997 CSG’s VentagePoint), IT Services (2010 TeQual LTD), Wireless Internet access (2001 Frequand Inc.), mobile enablement (2012 Qomuty), cloud, and large enterprise strategies. I have a rich Executive experience and have consulted for a series of C-level executives across multiple industries on a global scale.
I held the CEO position for a Global Technology Services company with offices in Israel, Ramallah, Paris, and London, and prior to it I was the CIO of a global IT Services company with business activities across the globe.