Article Details

Movers & Shakers Interview with Kenny Kelley, CEO & Founder - Silent Beacon

Published Date: 4/17/2020



Silent Beacon founder and CEO Kenny Kelley started his entrepreneurial career as a thrill-seeking Hollywood motorcycle stuntman and founder of Adrenaline Crew LLC, producing wildly popular videos and leading teams of daredevil riders in risky on-road hijinx that captured an enthusiastic worldwide audience both online and at high-profile events.


When Kelley made a mistake on his motorcycle — while popping a wheelie, with his feet out over the windshield, going 70 mph on a public interstate — the resulting crash sent both his body and his life careening in a new direction. The idea for a wearable emergency-button device came to him as he was lying incapacitated on the side of the road.


Kelley’s near-death-inspired appreciation of safety’s importance led him to form Silent Beacon LLC and create the namesake Bluetooth® wearable device that can contact any number, including 911, with a single button push. Kelley’s entrepreneurial life has gone from wowing crowds to protecting them, and he now lives for creating products that help people lead safer lives.


Vishal Sapru (VS), Principal Consultant, Cognitio Research Inc. had an opportunity to conduct a Movers & Shakers interview with Kenny Kelley (KK), CEO & Founder Silent Beacon.

VS: Can you provide our readers a brief overview of the company including the vision behind its formation and its current role in the market?

KK: A brush with death steered former stunt man Kenny Kelley to invent the device he wished he'd had while lying incapacitated on the side of the road. Kelley, a former Hollywood stuntman, launched Silent Beacon so people could call for help with the push of a button.

Kelley became known for his “Jackass”-style videos of crazy, dangerous and often illegal stunts on public roads. He was burning up the internet while staying one step ahead of the law, until one mistake — popping a wheelie on his motorcycle at 70 mph — nearly turning him into roadkill, stranded and alone on the side of the road.

As he laid there, he couldn’t even reach his cell phone to call anyone. Kelley felt what so many people do when faced with a potentially life-threatening situation: vulnerable, panicked, desperate for help.

After surviving that crash, Kelley created Silent Beacon, a life-saving wearable panic button that can call anyone you want in an emergency with one press.


VS: Please, describe your product for our readers? How does it work and how different is it from what is already available in the market?

KK: The Silent Beacon panic button is the only device on the market that allows you to choose which phone number you want to call during an emergency. Different emergencies require different responses. Silent Beacon allows you to customize who you call for help, whether that’s 911, emergency services, a family member or friend, even phone numbers overseas.

Silent Beacon Features that differentiate in in the marketplace:

  • Send Alerts & Your GPS Location: Send your GPS location in real-time via text, email, and push notifications to people who can help you in an emergency.
  • Enjoy Zero Monthly Fees: The Silent Beacon connects to your phone’s Bluetooth®, saving you from having to pay any additional fees or setup costs.
  • Rechargeable Battery: Fully rechargeable and allows you to monitor battery life for added peace of mind.
  • Patented Safety Device: Using our patented technology, you can send and receive emergency alerts directly to your Silent Beacon if your phone is out of reach.
  • Find Your Keys or Device: Find anything your Beacon is attached to quickly thanks to our built-in Bluetooth® tracker.
  • Silent Alert Mode: With one press, you can disable the sounds and lights to discreetly send for help without anyone knowing. 
  • Built to Last: We designed our panic button to survive your active lifestyle.
  • Works Internationally: Use your Silent Beacon worldwide by setting up localized emergency contacts in any country you visit.


VS: What are some of the likely challenges Silent Beacon is expecting to face in the market and what strategy do you have in place to overcome it?

KK: A big challenge facing the market is that the price points of wearable safety devices are decreasing, and our product utilizes top of the line components and features that make it challenging to reduce in price. However, Silent Beacon is currently developing a ‘Lite’ version of the device which we plan to launch next year.

In addition to challenges, the market is projected to grow significantly:

  • According to Business Wire, the global PERS market is expected to grow at a CAGR of about 5.7 % between 2016 and 2020.
  • By the end of 2020, estimates show that about 40% of the world’s medical alert systems/ PERS market will be generated by North America (
  • Accelerated growth can also be expected in the market for the future. The U.S Census Bureau projects that about 56.4 million Americans will be 65 years and above by the year 2020; an increase from 46.2 million in 2014.           
  • University enrollment for the period 2009 to 2020 is expected to grow about 13 percent to 23 million according to the Projections of Education Statistics publication.

Silent Beacon is working with distributors to ensure that supply and demand remain in sync.


VS: What is the unique value proposition of your product and its key competitive differentiators?

KK: Unique value proposition includes -

  • Complete Solution: The Silent Beacon is more than just a device; it is a complete solution that facilitates instant assistance in an emergency situation.
  • End-User experience: Our App features a responsive and easy-to-use interface for our customers designed for hassle-free use in highly stressful situations.
  • Easy to Sell Product: Our device features remain superior over all our competitors and at the most competitive price point. A one-time fee of $99.99 with an accompanying free App. NO hidden fees or monthly subscriptions.
  • Responsiveness: Silent Beacon LLC is a growing technology start-up with a close-knit team of experienced professionals. We work with you on challenges that may arise from distributing our product.
  • Financial Capacity: We are backed by a reputable Investment Management Firm with a track-record of success.
  • Supply Chain: Our team of experts utilize an efficient system that ensures that products get to you when you need them.


VS: What is your strategy in regards to offering best value to customers for the price, compared to similar offerings from competitors? if any?

KK: Safety is not a privilege or a luxury, it is a necessity. Currently, most panic buttons/safety alert devices in the market are charging monthly fees. To help our customers achieve a safer life, we launched Silent Beacon as a Bluetooth cell phone accessory to mitigate any additional costs to our customers. Our goal was to launch a product that can help save lives at a one-time cost of $99.99 - no hidden fees and no monthly subscriptions. In addition to the differentiators we noted above, Silent Beacon has:

  • Patented, customized integrated software and unique software processes.
  • Two-Way Audio Communication (Place phone calls from the Silent Beacon and get help when you need it. Allow yourself to focus on your emergency situation and less on your phone.)
  • Fully Customizable Alerts (Select who the device calls including emergency services, 911 or loved ones. Toggle how your contacts are to be alerted with text messaging and more.)
  • Rechargeable Battery with Micro USB Port (Make sure no emergency call gets disconnected by charging on the go. View the battery life and get notified when your battery levels get too low.)


VS: Continued innovation is the key to success for any company. How is the process of innovation managed at Silent Beacon?

KK: We maintain a continuous innovation process based on internal review and customer feedback. As a result, we already introduced a number of upgrades/changes for 2020.

  • Help Me: The Silent Beacon will now ring, vibrate and blink when a fellow Silent Beacon user in your emergency contact list needs help.
  • Find Me: Silent Beacon has added an audible “find me” feature in case you misplace the device.
  • Free Tech Support Call Center: The Silent Beacon is simple, reliable and easy to use in an emergency — but sometimes users want a little personal attention. We’ve introduced 24/7 call center support to provide additional assurance in being heard, found and assisted in emergency situations.
  • Deluxe Service/Emergency Monitoring Center: For a nominal extra fee, Silent Beacon users can now access an emergency monitoring service that will help them get in touch with contacts who don’t respond to their initial Silent Beacon alert.
  • Longer Battery Life: We updated the device’s energy management system to provide longer battery life. And users can simply check the Silent Beacon phone app periodically for battery-life notifications.

 In addition, we launched Silent Beacon Business Solutions:

 It’s a sad reality that workplaces are increasingly prone to violence and personal safety risks. In response to these trends, Silent Beacon launched a special Business Solutions offering. Silent Beacon Business Solutions is for any employer, no matter how big or small, that wants to help protect its employees. The software empowers employers to put a truly effective safety system in place that supports every employee. In addition to connecting to mobile devices, Silent Beacon Business Solutions can send mass alerts to desktops plus voice-to-text group messaging.


VS: What do you want the company to accomplish in the next 2 to 3 years and how will you define success for Silent Beacon?

KK: Silent Beacon is dedicated to helping customers enhance their personal safety and security. Toward that end, our three-year plan includes:

  • Building new retail partnerships to make our products easily available to consumers
  • Expanding internationally to make Silent Beacon’s benefits widely accessible
  • Developing additional safety-related products to address evolving customer needs
    • We are currently in research and development of a few pipeline products that address other consumer needs such as a cellular version, for those who do not utilize smartphones, Silent Beacon Lite which caters to those who cannot afford a higher price point, as well as a Pet Tracker and a device that is child friendly.
  • Success is defined by an increase of safety among communities, an increase in security - knowing that you and your family are in a safety network, as well as quicker response time to those who are in emergency situations. Silent Beacon aims to bring safety to all.


VS: Could you elaborate on the acceptance or adoption of your product in the marketplace and are there any client testimonials that can be shared with us? Also, do you foresee the acceptance of your product to have influence (trend setter) on the overall direction of the market?

KK: Silent Beacon is proud to announce that we have launched at the following stores: Amazon, Sears, B8TA, and Nebraska Furniture Mart.

We’re happy to share the following customer testimonials (and have others if needed). However, it’s also worth noting that a variety of industries and individuals beyond our original women-and-children target market have sought our product, including hotels, hospitals, colleges, solo workers and fleet management companies.


  • I'm a single woman and the Silent Beacon device and app makes me feel so much safer going out alone, especially at night. As we see on TV, things happen in the places where you would least expect it, like a grocery store parking lot after a 5 min trip to the store. I carry the device in my hand walking in and out of stores! – Christina
  • I had recently moved to NYC and became a college student, I felt like I really needed protection for walking around and riding the trains. Having my phone was nice but that's usually the first thing taken from you when mugged or assaulted so I needed something smaller, more compact, and easy to hide when used to alarm people. That's when I found Silent Beacon. It had everything I looked for and even has capabilities to resist water, so I wouldn't have to worry about it not working in the rain or even at home while bathing. It may seem like an unneeded product at first but your sense of security and the at ease feeling you get knowing this little device can alert any of your loved ones of an emergency is one if the best investments I've made. – Ashley
  • My wife works as a psychotherapist for herself and will typically work evening hours. Unfortunately, this means that she is leaving the building late at night by herself and she is often the last car in the parking lot. She was very intimidated by the situation and it began to affect her work and her ability to take clients later in the day. I ordered the Silent Beacon for her and she is forever grateful. This device has been a godsend and has given her the ability to be more confident when she is leaving work. She was even looking at other options such as Life Alert but the Silent Beacon was truly the only device that was not a medical emergency device. Thank you so much for creating this device and helping my wife gain the confidence that she needed when leaving her place of work each night. – Tim Feuerborn


VS: Are there any unique features of your product that address unmet customer needs and competitors are unable to replicate and replace?

KK: Silent Beacon enables users to choose who to reach in an emergency — with no monthly fees or hidden costs. Most of our competitors either route users’ calls through a call center, or charge a fee for added functionality. With Silent Beacon, users simply pay for the device, customize their contacts and use the device with no additional payments or fees.


VS: There are vendors in the market with complementing or similar products. How do you compare yourself with such competitors in regards to offering Best-in-Class solution?

KK: Silent Beacon features two-way communication and enables users to call whatever number they choose — without needing to go through a call center — at zero monthly fees. Most of the other products on the market require monthly service fees for these services. Our device is made of flame-retardant plastic, is dust and water resistant, and fits easily on a key ring, belt loop or necklace. We make our product with trusted, American-made Texas Instruments components.


VS: What are your marketing and product positioning strategies? Do you plan to form any strategic alliances and/or partnerships? How do you plan to build and strengthen the brand equity of your offering?

KK: Silent Beacon is obviously the best-in-class choice for anyone who wants to improve their personal security, however, we have also focused on niche markets where safety is a heightened concern. For example, we partnered with Washington, D.C., nonprofit My Sister’s Place to provide a free Silent Beacon to any of their clients seeking refuge from domestic violence. We’re strategically choosing our future partnerships with other nonprofits, and of course with specific distributors and retailers.


VS: What kind of customer feedback mechanism do you have in place to ensure that the product development and innovation matches market and customer needs?

KK: This is proprietary information, but Silent Beacon uses a variety of channels to match user feedback with our internal innovation processes. Our sales team works closely with our customers to ensure that their needs are met. Through that process, our team has been able to compile customer inquiries regarding “like to have” features, capabilities, and products. We have worked closely with the customers in building future Silent Beacon products.

VS: As a general conclusion, what do you think the future holds for your product?

KK: The need for Silent Beacon is clear. 240 million people a year call 911. We expect to generate 21M customers based on our total market size. Silent Beacon is not only penetrating the personal safety market more deeply, we’re also closely following trends and customer needs to anticipate how we might offer other products to help people be safe.