Silje Vallestad promised to develop a mobile safety alarm for women with the $200,000 prize money she won when she was named Female Entrepreneur of the Year in March. The award and her efforts have resulted in the US launch of bSafe, a free mobile safety app.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, the country’s largest and most reliable crime study, there were 248,300 sexual assaults in 2007. That’s more than 600 each day. Women age 24 and under suffer from the highest rates of sexual assaults. The Justice Department estimates that one in five women will experience rape or attempted rape during their college years.
Vallestad, a mother of three from Norway is the Founder of Bipper, a provider of mobile safety solutions. She is passionate about bSafe because it’s an application designed to give women peace of mind. Vallestad has, as many other women, experienced uncomfortable and frightening situations and decided to develop a solution that made it easier to alert people if they felt threatened.
“We all carry cell phones, so it’s only natural to make our phones into a safety device if needed. Most women already rely on their cell phone when feeling unsafe. Who hasn’t had the phone ready in hand when walking alone at night? Or called someone to keep them company? Or even pretended to be speaking with someone to avoid getting approached by strangers”, says Vallestad and continues, “I wanted to develop a solution that can quickly alert people about me having an emergency and also inform them about my location. It should be easy to use, intuitive and provide women with a sense of security”.
By triggering the alarm, the user can with a single click on the SOS button initiate a call to a set of predefined contacts or “guardians”. At the same time the solution automatically sends a text message to the guardians with a link to a map with the user’s location.
bSafe also gives the user the ability to simulate an incoming call giving nearby strangers the impression that someone is calling. In addition, if the user has opened the app the phone will not lock up and this allows the user to alert their “guardians” with only one tap, saving valuable time in the process.
Vallestad has spent a lot of time in California and the Northeast in the last year and is now planning on moving the company headquarters to the US in order to focus her efforts on making this product and other mobile safety solutions available to all American families. “The United States is a diverse and exciting country with endless opportunities and I love the vibe, energy and the entrepreneurial spirit here”, says Vallestad.
bSafe was just made available for Android, search bSafe in Android Market or send “bsafe” to 84145. iPhone and Blackberry will follow soon