The founders of Alcohoot, both veterans of the Israeli military, were inspired to create a personal device to address drunk driving when they first learned that more soldiers died from drinking and driving than from military operations. “They began their quest ahead of the curve at an early stage of smartphone and app store development,” says CEO Christopher Ayala.
The Development Process
“The current device feeds off activity trackers and wearable technology” says Ayala “and the founders’ vision of a connected device through a smartphone’s headphone jack was their design launching point.” Without money, the founders were introduced to initial investors, Caleb Koeppel and his son Max Koeppel, who later joined Alcohoot as its Chief Operating Officer. Together they launched their initial development process focused on a best in class product surpassing the other devices in the market that were fallible at best. “The time is ripe for a sophisticated, dependable option that allows individuals to measure their blood alcohol level and also become smarter, more responsible drinkers” says Ayala “and that option is Alcohoot”
The first Alcohoot prototype connected a sensor to a smart phone, but they found that the prototype suffered from the same issues many of the other personal breathalyzers on the market did—it wasn’t as accurate as the professional breathalyzers used by law enforcement. “The majority of consumer breathalyzers on the market at the time were wrong and inadequate,” Koeppel says, “so we reached out to breathalyzer companies that the police use, and worked with them to create a high quality, accurate sensor.”
How it Works
Alcohoot plugs into the headphone jack on your smartphone, and to use it you simply launch the app and blow into the sensor for roughly four seconds until the phone registers the BAC reading. Alcohoot utilizes an FDA-registered fuel cell sensor, the same one used by police and military devices. The Alcohoot app explains what the reading means and using your smartphone’s GPS, Alcohoot brings up your location letting you find a restaurant or coffee shop nearby or find a taxi through a number of taxi apps so you can get home safely.
Alcohoot aims to go beyond just being a breathalyzer, providing users actionable data through their Activity Tracker component comprised of SmartLine, a Q&A feature focused on learning about your behavior, and MorningQuiz, a tracker that learns more about your habits and how to modify them positively. Both components are powered by complex algorithms focused on helping you drink smarter, discover responsible limits, and inspiring you to make safe decisions so you enjoy alcohol responsibly.
As Ayala sees it, Alcohoot’s Activity Tracker is little different from other devices that are geared towards the “quantified self” market—individuals who are using technology to learn more about their bodies and habits and improve their lives. “The Activity Tracker is for the person who wants to use technology to know themselves better,” Ayala says.
Working With HEINEKEN USA
Ayala says that he knew Alcohoot and HEINEKEN USA were a natural fit after watching some of their videos online. Specifically, Heineken’s messaging was realistic yet inspirational, something he felt was in step with Alcohoot’s desire to empower users to act more responsibly. “Heineken’s responsibility messaging shows they understand how to approach the market—they’re saying ‘please drink responsibly’ while also supporting technology that says ‘REALLY drink responsibly’. Heineken and Alcohoot are a perfect complement and together are going to help change the landscape of drinking responsibly.