Colleen WongWith no technical experience Colleen set-up the successful My Gator Watch for children and seniors.

Now, the inspirational mother of two plans to evolve the product from a tracker for kids, to a wearable mobile device for seniors that can track location and detect falls, to help the elderly maintain independence

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

My idea for My Gator Watch came to me almost four years ago when I was with my two babies, then aged 4 months and 18 months old. I saw a fellow mum running around looking for her young child and my first thought was ‘how can we be more connected to our younger children so we don’t lose their minds.’ A few weeks later, Techsixtyfour was born.

My Gator Watch is a mobile phone and GPS/WIFI tracker made for children between the ages of 5-11. It does not have access to the Internet, social media or games. The watch is designed to offer peace of mind to parents who have a child too young for a smartphone but old enough to want some independence. My Gator Watch is pre-installed with a sim, mic and speaker and can be used almost anywhere in the world.

I raised £200k in July 2017 through crowdfunding which allowed me to build a team and focus on marketing. I now have a team of 13 flexible working staff, most of whom are mums of young children. I strongly believe in the flexible work culture because so many mums and dads just want to put their children first but can’t or feel guilty doing it. I tell my team to put their family and health above work and the productivity is the best I have ever seen. I hope to build the first technology brand which hires only flexible working staff.

I have now put together a world class team to build a wearable for the ageing and dementia market. We are building Freedom G, a wearable tracker and mobile phone that has the world’s most accurate location tracking (sub 1m) both indoors and outdoors. We have focused on making it extremely simple, useful and affordable.

We have listened to hundreds of people tell their stories about living with dementia and we believe we have a revolutionary solution that can track, protect and communicate with our loved ones while giving us peace of mind.

Before starting Techsixtyfour, I was a stay at home mum for 18 months (hardest job in the world) and before that, I was a VP in sales in investment banking.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No. I never ‘planned’ a career in technology. I just had an idea which could solve a big problem amongst parents. I took everything day by day. I do plan the business strategy in advance now but I am always agile and ready to pivot and adapt accordingly.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Every day is a challenge. I overcome challenges by talking to others who can share a different perspective. I learn a lot about the issue which is challenging me and find a way to ‘beat it’ and I also go to the gym a lot. It clears my head which makes me approach challenges with a clearer mind.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Building my team. I have built a team of flexible working staff and each and every one are passionate and dedicated about the journey we are all on together. The culture I have created is family and health first, then work and this has proven to be extremely productive.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

I have built some incredible relationships with people through simply just being honest, confident and supportive.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?       

Listen and learn from people who know more than you. Be humble. Have some fun! Being serious and focused all the time doesn’t build long lasting relationships!

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

I personally think barriers are only there because of the lack of knowledge which leads to lack of confidence. The more you can learn and understand, the lower the barriers will become.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Offer courses not just in technology but in other subject areas such as finance and marketing as it is important to always see the bigger picture in anything that we do. I also think that companies should be supportive of women who need a career break to have children and who want to return with a flexible role. When a working mother can put her children first without feeling guilty, this leads to productivity and loyalty.

There is currently only 17% of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

I would use my magic wand to make more TV shows which show women doing amazing things in technology and not just programmers or computer scientists but roles which people can relate to which involve technology. I would also use the same wand to remove reality shows as I find a lot of those shows don’t encourage young women in positive ways.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I am a big fan of networking events as I love talking to people and learning from them. I think building long lasting relationships is key to success and so any resources that allows you to meet new and amazing people