This is not a normal case study because this was not a normal project. When COVID-19 shutdown the world in the spring of 2020, we, like everyone else, were devastated. 

While trading off childcare and hoping to keep our business alive, we knew we had to join so many others and try to be part of the solution. So we partnered with our portfolio company Regulr and tried to figure out what on earth we could do..

distance mobile app



Opportunity Research

At a time of massive risk and constraint, we had to figure what might be both helpful and actually possible. By combining Regulr's proprietary device-to-device tech with a funny scene from The Office, we realized that a proximity alert to help people maintain social distancing might be our best option.


Creating Regulr

This was not an exercise in thoughtful process. Creating Distance was about assembling a team, pointing everyone in the right direction, and trusting in each others talent and experience.

In the days and weeks that followed, requirements, designs, website copy, logos, and marketing campaigns came together from our small team scattered around the world. React Native code was was pushed in-between parenting duties, and friends scrambled to test the functionality while stuck at home.


Prototype flow



Creating a social distancing app turned out to be much easier than launching one. Though Google gladly approved the app in the Play Store, Apple decided to prohibit all non-healthcare related organizations from releasing COVID-related apps. To achieve our goal of helping as many people as we could, we made the decision to give the app away to an organization that might be able to release it. As of May 29th, We are still looking for a partner organization, though we hope to be able to change this soon.

Distance is a free proximity alert to remind people to maintain a safe social distance with:

  1. vibrations and alert tones when people (and their devices) get closer than 6 feet
  2. an "ignore" feature so that it doesn't trigger when you are safely in quarantine
  3. stand-alone functionality that doesn't transmit any tracking data between devices to maintain privacy
  1. highly targetable reporting 
  2. powerful visualizations
  3. year-over-year insights
Special Thanks to 
  • Collaborations with Regulr  
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • Stephen Dodge, Joey Figaro, Joe Baumgardner, Ian Major, Curtis Kingrea, Andy Sitison, John Keller, Stepan Rudenko, and Rinto Jose

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