The wearable technology of the future will include much more than smartwatches. It will actually be able to contribute to the prevention of sexual assault, thanks to Flare Jewelry, which will help you “live your life, just safer,” one piece of smart jewelry at a time. Quinn Fitzgerald and Sara de Zarraga, students at the Harvard Business School (HBS), recently founded the company on the belief that “every woman deserves the ability to control her own safety without sacrificing her freedom or style.”
The startup began last March, when the women, who met at HBS, asked themselves about what problems mattered to them. They both thought of sexual assault, as each had a personal experience with it. Unfortunately, their shared experience is not uncommon. According to a survey commissioned by the Association of American Universities, more than one in four college women report surviving rape or attempted rape at some point in their lifetime.
“We realize we won’t stop sexual assault from happening,” Fitzgerald told BostInno, “but we want to work together to create a culture against it, so we’re donating part of our proceeds to fund education prevention programs. We want to be part of the solution every way we can be.”
After deciding to focus on the problem of sexual assault, the students worked with survivors to figure out what type of technology would be most helpful. They came up with the idea for a piece of jewelry that would be able to sound an alarm, send out one’s GPS location to preset emergency contacts, and begin an audio recording. It would have a safe mode, which would text contacts, and a panic mode, which would send contacts one’s location and ask them to call 911.
The jewelry, which will ultimately take the form of either a necklace or a bracelet, will be both fashionable and discreet. It will come in different styles, no two of which are the same. The two women envision Flare Jewelry wearers not only as women looking to protect themselves from sexual assault, but also as children, the elderly, those with disabilities, and travelers.
Earlier this summer, the new company won first place in the Outside The Box Festival Interactive Awards and, as a result, $5 t in seed funding. You can watch the short submission video for the contest, in which De Zarraga talks about no longer having to compromise among style, safety, and freedom, below. The startup has been a finalist in other contests like the Forté Foundation’s Power Pitch Competition and Boston’s Big IDEA, and is a member of the Rock Fellowship Program at HBS as well.
The pair is currently wrapping up a summer well spent in the Harvard Innovation Lab’s Venture Incubation Program, developing the prototype with the help of a team of MIT engineers. After development, Fitzgerald and De Zarraga plan to have college students and professionals test the final product. Sign up for the mailing list to keep up with their progress, and look out for Flare Jewelry’s presale!