Meet Our Startup of the Year Competition Semifinalists: ROAR For Good

October 6, 2015

11:17 am

From apps to hardware, to KickStarter successes and international startups, we’re inching closer to finding out who will take home the title of Startup of the Year competition at our annual Celebrate Conference today. Among the dozens of participants that applied for the online competitions, only a few progressed into the semifinals.

Climbing the ranks for our Philadelphia, PA region, ROAR for Good was one of two semifinal winners. If they come out on top, ROAR for Good can expect prizes and support from Tech Wildcatters, 500Startups, Consumer Electronics Association, Crowdfunder, Techstars, American Airlines, and more!

In order to get a better understanding about what they do and how they are preparing for Celebrate, we sat down with ROAR for Good Co-Founder Yasmine Mustafa to hear about their journey to get to Celebrate. How are you preparing for your initial launch?

Since our focus is about empowering women and reducing assaults, the majority of our launch preparation has been focused around aligning with people and organizations that share our goals. We want to be sure that once we announce, the people who can benefit the most are included. We’re initially targeting women on college campuses and in urban environments where the pain is most acute, and the opportunity to make a difference the greatest.

We’re also continuing to work on our prototypes to ensure user testing moves forward so we can iterate quickly and build the best version of the product possible.

In addition, there’s so much to get for – the copy for the Indiegogo campaign, the graphics needed, the website, email campaigns to our email list, lining up events to speak at to increase our presence, and finishing our video to name a few. What was the road like leading up to your initial pitch for the competition?

It was during a hectic time – we were just wrapping up our time at DreamIt Ventures, a startup accelerator based in Philadelphia, and we were competing for $40k at Temple’s Business Plan Competition.

The last few weeks of DreamIt are focused on getting all the startup companies ready for Demo week, the last one of the program. Most days at the beginning were spent practicing our pitches, getting it ripped apart, and rebuilding it. It was a tough experience to go through but rewarding at the same time because it made it “better, stronger, tougher” as Kanye would say.

You would thinking it’d be beneficial towards our Temple pitch but it was harder because we had to memorize two separate pitches – each one of them had their own rules/timing/parameters we had to be aware of.

At the end of it all, we came up on top because we won First Place at Temple’s competition and that same night, crowd favorite at TechCocktail’s event. I never would have dreamed we’d walk away with two awards on the same day. Is this your first startup or have you all been part of others in the past?

Both my co-founder and I have built and scaled companies in the past and consider ourselves to be serial entrepreneurs. For us, the opportunity to come together and leverage technology to address this compelling societal challenge was a no-brainer. We’re both supporters of women empowerment and reducing violence and are pouring our hearts and souls into making a difference. What comes next, any new products on the horizon?

Our initial launch is our Athena line of jewelry. It’s named after the goddess of courage, strength, and wisdom. Our smart, fashionable jewelry has the ability to emit a loud alarm, send text messages to friends & family with the wearer’s location, and instantly call the authorities (911, campus police, or a number they designate). We have several other jewelry designs in the works, with a modular design so that women can accessorize their ROAR device to match their fashion style. What was the motivation for creating Roar for Good?

The unfortunate truth is that everyone knows someone who has been a victim of assault – or is one themselves. When I solo-trekked across South America for six months, I regularly encountered women (both locals and travelers) who had been assaulted. And then one week after returning to Philadelphia, a woman was feeding her parking meter when she was grabbed from behind, dragged into an alley, severely beaten, and brutally raped. That was the moment the ROAR co-founders came together with the passionate belief that something more needed to be done. And that was the moment that ROAR for Good was born.

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Elliot is an award winning journalist deeply ingrained in the startup world and is often digging into emerging technology and data. When not writing, he's likely either running or training for a triathlon. You can contact him by email at elliot(@) or follow him on Twitter @thejournalizer.

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