November 29, 2010
On June 23, 2007, San Diego State University student, Donna Jou vanished forever after she met a man in response to her tutoring service ad she posted on Craigslist. It was later determined Donna had met John Steven Burgess, a three time convicted sexual predator. Because Donna’s body was never found, Burgess was convicted for the lesser crime of involuntary manslaughter and is currently serving a five year prison sentence and is due to be released next year. This is a sad story and one that is similar to others we’ve heard about the safety of online marketplace sites.
SafeList, a San Diego based startup focused on creating a safer, more transparent version of a Craigslist-like marketplace, is looking to help change the tide. It is a gated community for online classifieds focused on safety first, looking to verify every user. SafeList requires its users to confirm who they are before gaining access to the site’s core features. To become a verified user, individuals must answer a series of questions based on their personal life history pulled from a public database within 240 seconds. If you are successful, you can post to the site, otherwise you are kept at a basic user level. SafeList will also report any convicted felon or sexual predator that attempts to register on the website to law enforcement. Aside from verified accounts, the site also offers background checks and video chat so users know a little bit more about the people they are working with before making any transactions.
SafeList was founded by Karim Pirani, a former NYC advertising executive and hedge fund manager. He was personally moved by the story of Donna Jou and he has made it his mission to make the Web a safer place. Donna is survived by her father Reza Jou and he was so compelled to do something to help ensure others do not experience what he had experienced with the lose of his daughter that he recently invested in SafeList.
You can meet Karim and the rest of the team this week as SafeList is a featured startup at our Tech Cocktail San Diego mixer event on December 2nd.
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