April 30, 2014

A Raleigh, N.C., small business commercializing a new product to encourage safe swimming and help prevent drowning announced plans to expand its operations to Danville.

SEAL Innovation, Inc., CEO, Dr. Graham Snyder, said on Tuesday at The Launch Place’s news conference that the company’s mission is simple: “to improve swimming safety thereby reducing drowning.”

As an emergency room physician, Dr. Snyder said, he has seen firsthand drowning victims and the parents saying, “I only looked away for a second.”

“That’s heartbreaking to hear,” he said, “because it actually takes more than a few seconds to drown. Frequently, by the time parents, lifeguards and others know there’s a problem, it can be too late.”

Dr. Snyder and his colleague, Dr. Courtney Mann, invented a product called SEAL SwimSafe™ to alert parents and lifeguards when to look for swimmers when they have been underwater for a specific length of time. With wearable swim bands and state-of-the-art technology, a siren and strobe light will go off, “initiating a rescue instantaneously,” Dr. Snyder said.

According to Dr. Snyder, there are 314,000 commercial pools, 10 million boat owners and 8 million backyard pool owners in the United States. “They all have the same mission. They want people in the water, having fun, getting exercise and learning a life skill. But they also want it done in a safe way,” he said. “This is what we are commercializing: a layer of technology to help prevent drowning.”

SEAL Innovation Corporate Finance and Development Officer Justin Calvillo said Danville was chosen for expansion, because of The Launch Place’s capacity to build and advise business and support entrepreneurship.

The Launch Place announced on April 17 that it is investing $250,000 in SEAL Innovation. Dr. Snyder, Calvillo and other SEAL Innovation officials came to Danville on Tuesday to introduce themselves to the community and to share publicly more details about their trademarked product.

The Launch Place assists with business development, and job creation and retention region-wide through its business consulting services, while having a dual responsibility to recruit and retain entrepreneurs to the Danville region due to a $10 million grant award over five years by the Danville Region Foundation. A $4 million seed fund was established with this grant to invest in start-ups and serial entrepreneurs.