By Bo Thornton
The video of the arrest of Sandra Bland, who later was found hanged in a Texas jail cell on July 13 was disturbing to many. For Mbye Njie it was disturbing, life-changing and motivating.
After seeing the video and hearing the reports of her demise in a jail cell, he came up with the idea Legal Equalizer. Legal Equalizer is an app which can help in the event you or a loved one is pulled over or confronted by law enforcement.
Njie explained how his app works. “Let’s say you get pulled over. Instead of having to text, you hit one button; an SOS button and it will let those people [up to 3 people whom you designate in the app] know you were pulled over.”
Legal Equalizer uses location services and integrates with your mobile device’s address book. Users can send an SOS message to those designated.
The app also displays a person’s rights when dealing with the police. Legal Equalizer’s Android version also displays immigration rights. Njie says this capability is currently being developed for the iOS version as well. The app allows users to record video that is saved to the phone, backed up to the cloud and a secured server as well.
Njie quit his job in insurance to create his company. He built a team of 5 from people he knew and people that were as passionate about the necessity of such an app. His team includes a legal expert and a developer.
The Legal Equalizer team is seeking funding after turning down a $3 million investment offer. The investors with the $3 million offer wanted 30% of the company. Njie thought that was such a great deal, until the brokers who found the investors also demanded 35% of Njie’s company in order for the deal to move forward.
“There is no company in history where the finder or broker has 35% of the company. When I said, ‘We are not giving up control of the company’ they called me “angry”—a code word for when minorities and women get emotional. It was shocking,” recalls Njie.
Njie went on to say, “We didn’t even need $3 million. We built the app for under $40,000, including incorporating ourselves in Delaware and getting our trademarks.”
Currently, Legal Equalizer is not a money-maker, but that is not the driving force for Njie and his team, who says the effort is worth it if it “saves one life.”
“We are looking for an increase in downloads,” says Njie, which will help attract investors. There is also potential revenue from advertising. Originally the plan was to charge a fee for the download, but Njie says, “In our heart of hearts we know there would be some people who could not afford it.” So the app remains free of charge, at this time.