In India, a sexual assault occurs every 22.5 minutes. It’s a startling statistic from India’s National Crime Records Bureau. On December 16, 2012, 23-year-old medical student Jyoti Singh was gang raped and killed in New Delhi. The brutal nature of the attack shocked the nation and struck a nerve around the world. It especially hit home for Leaf Wearables’ co-founder Paras Batra.
He with his colleagues Avinash Bansal, Chiraag Kapil, Ayush Banka and Manik Mehta decided to do something about the issue. Thus the team started ideating, researching and identified the gaps in the existing safety devices and solutions. There were a host of safety apps launched to combat safety issues, but they were highly impractical or not really feasible enough to use during any such miss-happenings. They searched for other high end devices available in the market but either they were too costly or cumbersome.
It was then the team hit upon the idea of developing a safety device which one could wear on the body. Not only would that be more practical, but also more useful in event of an attack. The team decided to incorporate the device into something that people would wear. And for women, jewelry became an obvious choice.
How It Works
In order to send a distress signal in case of emergencies or when the user is feeling unsafe, the user needs to double click on the pendant. The device works on the push button technology hence, the chip embedded in the pendant gets activated. This will send out an automated alert to the registered numbers of the user’s guardians or friends, to the nearest PCR and the people in the vicinity who are using the same application, after a brief 30 seconds gap. The recipients will able to track the user’s location using GPS.
In case the alarm is set off accidently, the user can disable the request after pressing the button once again and the guardians will receive the message that the wearer is safe. The app taps nearby cell towers and Wi-Fi routers in addition to the Global Positioning System (GPS) to track and locate users. In case there is no app or no internet connection, the alert is sent via SMSes. The good thing in the app is that it constantly live tracks the wearer and even in areas with limited internet connection, the alerts don’t stop. Basically, the device can use any type of communication system such as internet or SMS to alert one’s loved ones when in a distress situation.
The Monetization Part
So far the company has sold over 6000 pendants costing about INR 3500 each. Going forward the company aims at making 1 Mn families safer by 2017.
The company has also won a slew of awards even before its inception. These include Gitex Solutions (2014) in Dubai, Philips Blueprint Award (2014), Ericsson Innovation Award and the Program DST-Lockheed Martin India Innovation Growth Plan award among others.
The company had raised $250K – approximately INR 1.6 crore in seed funding.
The team of 12 people are now planning to launch kids safety product in the form of a wristwatch that’ll have its own GPRS tracking system available in the market by the end of this month. The startup also wants to create wearables to keep elderly people safe, with tweaked features for each new product.
In the wake of rising crime against women, many startups have taken the initiative to introduce products in the form of applications, which will ensure safety for women. VithU, Raksha, BSafe, Pukar, SafetyPin, and many other applications offer features like GPS tracking, safe and unsafe areas on maps, ways to send alerts to emergency contacts, and scream alarms.
In addition, the central government launched India’s first integrated mobile application for women’s safety called ‘Himmat’. This smartphone-based application carries the distinctive feature of alerting the police just by the shaking or pressing the power button twice.
With Leafwearables introducing its tangible product as a safety assurer for humanity and distinguishing itself by offering a hardware device, the company might be able to achieve a major breakthrough in the Indian market.