Teams from Around the World Compete to Develop Technology Solutions
for Women’s Safety
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–XPRIZE, the global leader in designing incentive competitions to solve
humanity’s grand challenges, today announced the 21 teams advancing in
Anu & Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE, which challenges
competitors around the world to leverage technology to create accessible
and affordable safety solutions that help tackle violence and harassment
The competition challenges a diverse range of global teams, including
several cross-country collaborations, to develop an affordable,
pragmatic device that provides women with the ability to rapidly respond
to threats. The solution should autonomously and inconspicuously trigger
an emergency alert and transmit information to a network of community
responders, all within 90 seconds. In order to help give the product
maximum adoption potential, the winning technology should cost no more
With XPRIZE, Anu and Naveen Jain conceptualized and launched the Women’s
Safety XPRIZE as a response against the mounting frequency of harassment
and assault women face across developed and emerging countries alike.
“According to statistics from the United Nations, one in three women
have faced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, with one in
five being a victim of assault on college campuses across the United
States – yet 90 percent of victims don’t report the case,” said Anu
Jain, philanthropist and champion for the Women’s Safety XPRIZE. “We
sparked this initiative to curb the harassment epidemic against women
and empower them to pursue their dreams.”
The semifinalists were chosen by an independent judging panel from a
field of 85 teams following XPRIZE’s initial launch at a United Nations
day celebration in October 2016. Among them are app developers,
technology researchers, academic institutions and startups working
toward safety for women worldwide.
“We are immensely proud of the most talented entrepreneurs and
visionaries in the world who are developing the products to enable
millions of women to truly live without fear,” said Naveen Jain,
philanthropist and champion for the Women’s Safety XPRIZE.
teams advancing are:
Artemis (Lausanne, Switzerland) – Led by Dr. Nicee Srivastava
and Dr. Katerina Zisaki, Artemis is developing a device that can
trigger an alert not only through a button or gesture, but also by
seamlessly tracking the emotional threat level faced by the woman.
Guardinum (Seattle, WA, United States) – Led by Haroon Rasheed,
Guardinum is developing innovative technology solutions to make the
world a safer place.
Hera Global Tech (Bengaluru, India; Pittsburgh, PA, United
States) – Led by Poorvi Mathur and Elizabeth LaRue, Hera Global Tech
is developing an intuitive solution for women’s safety without wearing
a band, pressing a button or finding a phone.
IDEAHOUSE (Hyderabad, India) – Led by Ramdas Kumbala, IDEAHOUSE
is developing a technologically-equipped device that can trace the
location of a user in distress and alert those nearby for help, even
if the signal strength is low.
Jayawear (Reno, NV, United States) – Led by Allison
Clift-Jennings, Jayawear is developing a product that will enable
women to create their own safety together, regardless of social
status, income or reliance on technological infrastructure.
Krupa (San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA, United States; New
Delhi, India; Vancouver, Canada) – Led by Karthika Purushothaman,
Krupa is building an AI-powered wearable, which uses multiple
user-generated and non user-generated signals to detect attacks and
convey messages to a server, which can broadcast a call for help to
all nearby users.
Mangos (Tucson, AZ, United States) – Led by Mark Hardy, Mangos
is a student-led initiative developing a solution for the competition.
(Los Altos, CA, United States; Moscow, Russia; Shenzhen, China) – Led
by Leo Bereschanskiy, Nimb is developing a personal security platform
that consists of software and hardware that helps people call for help
in case of emergency with just a touch of the thumb.
Pro from Leaf Wearables (New Delhi, India) – Led by
Manik Mehta, Leaf Wearables is building SAFER Pro, an enhanced new
version of their popular smart safety device.
(St. Louis, MO, United States) – Led by Nick Droege, SafeTrek is
building on top of their personal safety application’s infrastructure
to launch the first connected safety platform where anyone can sync
their existing apps and products with SafeTrek’s services to enable
new, efficient and user-friendly methods of getting help in any
Saffron (Bellevue, WA, United States; Tsinghua, China) – Led by
Nicholas Baker, Saffron is a collaboration between the University of
Washington and Tsinghua University through the Global Innovation
eXchange (GIX), focused on developing wearable sensors and machine
learning algorithms to create inconspicuous technologies that improve
the safety and well-being of women around the world.
(Thiruvananthapuram, India) – Led by AM Amith, SANGO is working on
an IoT device integrated with artificial intelligence that can
autonomously trigger an alarm in a panic situation.
(Hamburg, Germany) – Led by Wolfgang von Geramb, Securella is
building a one-click, intuitive button that rapidly connects to
multiple security sources using automation technology.
(San Diego, CA, United States) – Led by Debashis Sahoo, Shanvi is
developing a hardware and software solution for safety triggers and
response using the latest technology.
Smart HLP (Fremont, CA, United States) – Led by Sridhara Rao
Bollam, Smart HLP is developing a tracking device to help women in
(Bethlehem, PA, United States) – Led by Lena McDonnell, Soterra is
using a combination of global positioning services, cellular data and
bluetooth to build a versatile, reliable and affordable network to
connect women to emergency support systems with or without internet
Stree Raksha (Coimbatore, India) – Led by M. Gopikrishnan,
Stree Raksha is a team of family members developing an empathetic,
non-intrusive ecosystem for women’s safety.
(Madrid, Spain) – Led by Celia Lopez-Ongil, UC3M4Safety is
developing a wearable solution that will detect a user’s panic, fear
and stress through physiological sensor data, speech and audio
analysis, machine-learning algorithms and multimodal data fusion.
(San Luis Obispo, CA, United States) – Led by Maxwell Fong, Elan
Timmons and Madison Weiss, Ulzi is a customizable personal safety
phone application that harnesses the power of community and works to
reduce sexual assault and create safer communities.
(Hartford, CT, United States) – Led by David Benoit, Wearsafe is
creating a software platform that allows technological devices to
collect and transmit critical information about a user, such as health
status, in order to understand situational context and signal for help.
Xeno: The Personal Crowdsourced Bodyguard (Dubai, United Arab
Emirates; Xi’an, China; San Diego, CA, United States) – Led by Ali
Raheman, Xeno is developing the world’s first crowdsourced women’s
safety device blockchained for security, privacy and anonymity of the
victim, as well as those who respond to an incident. Camouflaged as a
fashion accessory, the technology is capable of dispatching hands-free
The semifinalist teams will be given an additional six months to create
a deployment-ready prototype. Each of the solutions will then be tested
live in front of the judging panel in a simulated testing environment in
Mumbai, India, in April 2018. The winner will be announced in June 2018.
In addition to the competitor pool, the Women’s Safety XPRIZE announced
panel, which includes diverse experts in security, engineering and
Lauren C. Anderson, internationally recognized geopolitical and
international security consultant, and a distinguished former FBI
- Judy Feng, antenna engineering program manager at Apple, Inc.;
Dr. Shruti Kapoor, award-winning gender equality activist,
economist, social entrepreneur and founder of Sayfty, a non-government
organization that educates and empowers the women and girls of India
Nic McKinley, founder and executive director of DeliverFund, a
nonprofit private intelligence organization;
Gioia Messinger, founder and principal of LinkedObjects, Inc.,
a technology and business strategy firm specializing in the Internet
of Things, and entrepreneur-in-residence at the University of
California, San Diego;
Shalani Prakash, venture partner at 500Startups, overseeing the
global venture capital firm’s investments, portfolio and operations in
Tyson Woeste, founder and CEO of Transported, a
venture-funded startup that allows anyone to create virtual reality
tours of the world’s most interesting places and spaces.
“We are thankful to Anu and Naveen Jain for selecting XPRIZE as the
platform of choice for philanthropists to use crowdsourcing and
incentive prizes to help address women’s safety worldwide,” said Marcus
Shingles, CEO of XPRIZE. “The solutions that emerge from the Women’s
Safety XPRIZE will have the potential to offer breakthroughs to help arm
communities everywhere with safety networks in innovative, unprecedented
XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and
implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest
challenges. XPRIZE utilizes a unique combination of gamification,
crowd-sourcing, incentive prize theory, and exponential technologies as
a formula to make 10x (vs. 10%) impact in the grand challenge domains
facing our world. XPRIZE’s philosophy is that—under the right
circumstances—igniting rapid experimentation from a variety of diverse
lenses is the most efficient and effective method to driving exponential
impact and solutions to grand challenges. Active competitions include
the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M
Global Learning XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7M
Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, the $5M IBM Watson AI
XPRIZE, the $1.75M Water Abundance XPRIZE and the $1M Anu & Naveen Jain
Women’s Safety XPRIZE. For more information, visit www.xprize.org/.