Where there’s a challenge, you’ll find an entrepreneur nearby building or coding a solution.
As the nation works to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, one Atlanta-based entrepreneur has launched the Georgia Vax App, a text notification platform to streamline vaccine appointment information from various county Boards of Health.
The notification service is built on top of Warlick’s AI bot and is used for Clayton, Cobb, Dekalb, Douglas, Fulton, Newton, and Rockdale counties. Warlick says he is working on adding more counties in Metro Atlanta and Georgia.
The app is unique because it helps organize information about the vaccine rollouts from disparate government websites.
“It’s a complex process…and it’s hard for [County Boards of Health] to get [vaccine information] out because they don’t necessarily know when new doses are coming. But people are desperate to get the information.”
Warlick told Hypepotamus that over 10,000 subscribers used the platform in the first week.
Pivoting From Permits to Vaccine Appointments
The founder Benjamin Warlick brings a unique perspective to this entrepreneurial venture. As an engineer-turned-lawyer, Warlick designed the app to make government data accessible.
After earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in engineering, Warlick went to law school and started working in patent law.
Warlick first started digging into data science and data security work after recognizing that it was difficult for the average citizen to find important government data and information surrounding city permitting. That led to the launch of Disco Droid.
“There are rules and laws about how you can object to permits, but people don’t always know what’s going on in their neighborhood,” said Warlick. “There’s government information online…but people aren’t really connected to it.”
The result was the Atlanta Tree App, an AI platform that notifies users about tree removal permit applications filed in your neighborhood.
But as states started working on the best way to distribute vaccines, Warlick recognized that his work on streamlining data from government websites could be put to good use.
“I have older relatives, and they were looking for vaccine appointments. I started looking at these government websites…and they said they would post appointments when they had vaccine shots. So just keep checking back. I connected this with what I had been doing [with the permitting app],” said Warlick. “I could use that to check these websites and get a notice when new appointments are posted.”
He started by pulling information for Fulton County in order to help find an appointment time for his mother.
After building out a text-based interface to help the general public navigate the AI bot, Warlick posted about it on Nextdoor, a hyperlocal social media network for specific neighborhoods. From there, the idea seemingly went viral.
“My hope is by making it really easy for people, more people will get vaccinated,” added Warlick.