Entrepreneurs and philanthropists, Anu and Naveen Jain launched a million-dollar prize using the XPRIZE platform, the global leader in designing incentive competitions solving humanity’s grand challenges, to address the safety of women and girls by leveraging technology. The prize, launched in 2016, challenged innovators around the world to create a device that can inconspicuously trigger an emergency alert if a woman is facing a threat and transmit information to a network of community responders, all within 90 seconds and costing under $40.
“Safety is a fundamental human right and shouldn’t be considered a luxury for women. It is the foundation in achieving gender equality,” said Anu Jain, philanthropist and founder of the Women’s Safety XPRIZE. “With so many advances in innovation and technology today, it was unacceptable to us that we didn’t have a solution to help curb this sexual assault pandemic. We congratulate the winning team and thank all the teams that poured their heart and soul into finding innovative solutions to move humanity forward.”
“We have been working tirelessly to solve the problem of safety using technology. It has been our mission to make one billion families safer,” said Leaf Wearables team leader Manik Mehta. “The Anu & Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE gave us the incentive and focus to continue to work toward our mission and make the world a safer place to live, learn and work.”
“Women’s safety is not just a third world problem; we face it every day in our own country and on our college campuses. It’s not a red state problem or a blue state problem but a national problem,” said Naveen Jain, philanthropist and co-founder of the Women’s Safety XPRIZE. “We are thrilled to announce the winning solution and are confident that all the teams that competed will provide many options and tools to millions of communities around the world to ensure the safety of its members.”
“Congratulations to Anu and Naveen Jain for implementing their vision and accelerating an important breakthrough in the world. It was a joy to leverage their philanthropy and incentivize the crowd to transform personal and community safety across the world,” said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, founder and CEO of XPRIZE. “I wish to also congratulate Leaf Wearables and all of the teams who competed in the Women’s Safety XPRIZE. Watching the winning solution in action in communities and college campuses helped us to demonstrate that breakthrough solutions are borderless and exponential technology can help aid humanity in our most challenging global issues like universal safety.”
The competition challenged global innovators to develop an affordable, pragmatic device that provides users with the ability to rapidly respond to threats. A diverse range of 85 initial teams from 18 countries, including the United States, India, Switzerland, Canada, Spain, Germany, China and the United Arab Emirates, heeded the call. Among all competing teams were app developers, technology researchers, top-tier academic institutions and startups working toward safety for women worldwide.
The five finalist solutions were tested to see how the devices might fare across a variety of environments, including high rise office buildings, college campuses, in public transit and at home. Devices ranged from smart jewelry that can trigger emergency alerts to other wearables that detect physical gestures and speech recognition for emergency triggers. Most importantly, all of the solutions from the finalist teams work in areas of no cell connection.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER ($1M USD)
- SAFER Pro from Leaf Wearables (New Delhi, India) – Led by Manik Mehta, a smart safety device that sends emergency alerts with location details to users’ guardians when they sense danger. SAFER Pro is a small chip that can ultimately be put into any device or jewelry with a discreet emergency alert button. When the alert is received, it additionally lets you record audio from the time of the alert.
- Artemis (Lausanne, Switzerland) – Led by Dr. Nicee Srivastava, Artemis is developing a device that can be used to trigger an alert not just by a gesture, but also by seamlessly tracking emotional threat levels.
- Nimb & SafeTrek (Los Altos, CA and St. Louis, MO, United States) – Led by Leo Bereschanskiy and Nick Droege, Nimb collaborates with SafeTrek to provide their customers an option to call for professional emergency services with just a touch of the thumb. The company was founded in response to rising concerns about safety on and off campus. Both teams work together to make the world a safer place.
- Saffron (Bellevue, WA, United States; Tsinghua, China) – Led by Nicholas Becker, 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.
- Soterra (Bethlehem, PA, United States) – Led by Lena McDonnell, Soterra used 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.
“Through XPRIZE, we made our philanthropic efforts targeted for exponential impact and spurred breakthrough solutions for women and girls’ safety farther and faster. To anyone who wants to make a radical difference in the world, we need to empower them to take action,” added Anu Jain.
More information regarding the grand prize winner and other finalists can be found here.
ABOUT ANU AND NAVEEN JAIN
Anu and Naveen Jain are entrepreneurs and philanthropists driven to make a positive impact in the world. Naveen is the founder of several companies, including Moon Express, Viome, Bluedot, TalentWise, Intelius and InfoSpace. Anu is the co-founder of InfoSpace and leads Community Relations at Viome. She is on several boards focused on empowering girls and women globally.
Whether it’s working towards the goal of making illness elective and healthcare accessible to all, or developing infrastructures to make humanity a multi-planetary society, Anu and Naveen Jain are committed to solving the world’s biggest challenges through innovation. Together, their philanthropic work has been awarded many honors, most notably the “Humanitarian Innovation Award” at the United Nations, the “Town & Country Philanthropist of the year” and the 2018 “Ellis Island Medal of Honor” for their accomplishments and inspired service to the US.
Anu grew up in Jerusalem, Israel, and many different countries as a UN child before moving to the US to obtain her BS and MBA degree. Naveen grew up in India and moved to the US, where he became a successful entrepreneur and is currently focused on moonshots with a goal of creating abundance of health, education and food. They have three children together who are all entrepreneurs and actively involved in positively impacting the world.
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, crowdsourcing, 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 Lunar XPRIZE, the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M ANA Avatar 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/.