September 20, 2016
A little while ago we announced our August finalists and now we’re excited to finally announce that Emily Wills Founder and CEO of Haven Innovations LLC is our August Qualification Grant winners!
Read on to learn more about Haven Innovations and how they plan to make the world a safer place.
WN: For those who’ve never heard of Haven Innovations would you mind telling them a bit about your business?
EW:Haven’s overall mission is to protect the lives of young women without disrupting their daily lives. We carry out this mission by incorporating three core ideals into our company: commitment to safety, continuing to foster growth in knowledge and creativity, and humbly serving others. These values show others that we are truly passionate about building a device that will keep young women safe and our company is unlike any other through our dedication.
Being that our target market is young women, just like most of us on the Haven team, it allows us to fully understand our market’s needs in terms of personal safety. Haven is much more than a bracelet; it is an innovative approach to solving one of the most pressing issues in this day and age–missing and exploited young women and children.
WN: How did you and your partner come up with this idea?
EW:I first thought of the concept of Haven in September of 2014 after hearing the news of University of Virginia student, Hannah Graham’s, abduction. I then learned that this case ironically involved the same man that had taken the life of a fellow Hokie, Morgan Harrington, just five years earlier. Both of these girls had cell phones with them when they were taken and their phones were the first thing the kidnapper took from them, eliminating any hope of getting help from the outside world. Ultimately, this lack of communication ended up costing them their lives. My co-founder, Ashlyn, and I have a deep passion to protect and hopefully save the lives of women in these dangerous situations.
WN: How long does it take to alert authorities in event of an emergency?
EW:A Haven device prides itself on its ability to alert responders immediately once it is activated with its GPS and audio technologies so that they can have an accurate depiction of the nature of the emergency. The first 24-48 hours is the most crucial time period to try to locate and rescue someone. Haven intends to lessen the amount of time it takes for emergency contacts and personnel to find a person, making their chances of survival more likely. Since Haven works separately from a cell phone, it gives a woman a better chance of getting the help she needs because the first thing taken from you in an abduction is a phone.
WN: Do you plan to sell all types of jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets, and watches?
EW: While our initial product is a bracelet, we have committed to adapt to technology as it gets smaller and smaller. This will help it stay inconspicuous to predators yet fashionable for a woman to want to wear it all the time. We do plan to expand to other pieces of jewelry to fit into the style of each woman. We also plan to expand into devices for men.
WN: Have you thought about marketing this product directly to colleges?
EW:Our initial target market is women between the ages of 17 and 24, so, essentially, we are reaching out to the college aged women that we all go to school with. A unique part about our product is that we also target towards the parents of these women. Parents should view a device like Haven as a form of insurance—if you don’t need it, then at least you have it, and if you do need it, then it could save your life if it came down to it. These will be our initial customers since we have direct connection with them on campuses.
WN: What’s the next step for Haven Innovations?
EW: The next step for our company is to begin developing and testing our first prototype with the funds we have raised through crowdfunding. The Haven team hopes to start manufacturing and selling to our first customers by the summer of 2017 so look out for us!
Thanks for reading! Remember that we award a grant every month – if interested, please apply today.
And if you’d like to vote for Emily to win the $1,000 Amber Grant, you can vote for her here.