The pandemic has brought Houston hospitality entrepreneur Carson Hager – a self-proclaimed “recovering programmer” – to his roots in an effort to help people come together again.
After 20 years in the tech world – he sold his consumer grade commercial software company Cynergy Systems to KPMG in 2014 – Hager founded the Hospitable Viking, known for its popular local bars like Rosemont in Montrose and Cherry in the center. -city.
“It gives me a bit of chaos,” he says of his new industry. “It’s something to do, it’s a very different challenge.”
But the pandemic has added a new challenge and even more chaos to its industry. While restrictions were put in place in the spring of 2020 and many (including Hager himself) did not feel comfortable eating and drinking in public, he has seen so many people in his industry lose their jobs. , their business and their sense of community.
“I live in restaurants and bars and I wouldn’t have been anywhere then,” Hager says. “I took whatever it took to make people feel comfortable walking back and forth to bars and restaurants, gyms, lounges, clubs, etc.”
In April 2020, he decided to take action. And with the help of a few programming friends spending long hours for about 100 consecutive days, Hager created SafeFun, a Houston-based digital health passport that allows users to voluntarily and easily share COVID-test results and information. 19.
The free app extracts and analyzes PDF test results from a variety of COVID-19 tests, including molecular / diagnostic tests, antigens, and antibodies. SafeFun then validates the test against records from 100 partner test centers, including Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart, to ensure the results are credible and summarizes information that users can easily share through the app or in person. .
After completing construction in September 2020, Hager and his small team of four reached out to various city governments in hopes of engaging them as partners and supporting the use of the app for commercial purposes. However, they found that users were more interested in using SafeFun for personal reasons.
After a few more weeks of programming, Hager and his team released the consumer version in late 2020. Currently, SafeFun has around 12,000 users worldwide, according to Hager. Today, it is mainly used before a small meeting with friends, during a visit with family or to date.
SafeFun also has the ability to process and analyze evidence of vaccination and other tests for infectious diseases. However, the current roadblock in the COVID field is that in the United States, most vaccine suppliers do not provide digital documentation in PDF format.
Still, Hager is considering various potential uses for SafeFun in the future: for cruises, air travel, and even STD testing. Or, as Hager says, “God forbid, future pandemics.”