Wearable Set to Thwart Violence, Empower Women

October 20, 2015

10:02 am

Leading up to the Startup of the Year Competition several weeks ago, ROAR for Good stood out for the hardware they were developing. The hardware in question is a small, fashionable, wearable device designed to thwart violence against the person wearing it.

“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,” said ROAR for Good Founder Yasmine Mustafa.

After 18 months of planning, today ROAR for Good is launching the first version of their wearable through the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. It is named after the Greek goddess of courage and wisdom, Athena.

Empowering Women Through Education

ROAR for Good is more than a simple wearable and startup, the company recently became a B Corp with a focus on creating a positive impact. “We want to change the world. We feel like we really could with this,” said Mustafa. “Our differentiator is that we’re fashionable first with a social impact as well. It has a swappable/versatile design, and we’re focused on it not happening in the first place.”

Of the money raised from the campaign 10 percent of the proceeds will go towards One Love, an educational non-profit focusing on ending relationship violence. Specifically, One Love was developed in memory of Yeardley Love, and to raise awareness about the warning signs of abuse within localized communities. ROAR wants people to understand what a healthy relationship looks like.

Motivation and Differentiation of the Wearable

When asked what particular situation sparked the idea behind ROAR for Good and Athena, Mustafa reflected on both situations close to home and those affecting people across the globe.

“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,” said Mustafa.

The Athena wearable is also not your typical self-defense weapon. Unlike pepper spray or a taser, if the wearer of the device is overpowered the threat won’t increase. During the Indiegogo campaign ROAR will validate their concept. After months working with DreamIt, they’ve honed in on their messaging, idea, and product so “that women can live as they please: their lifestyle and dress the way they want without retaliation,” said Mustafa.

Athena is available starting at an early bird rate of $59 (normally $99). Other backer options include donating one to Women Against Abuse, branded wearables for sororities, and family packs.

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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(@)elliotvolkman.com or follow him on Twitter @thejournalizer.

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