Tech startup takes on city safety

16 July 2019

We’re sending one of Melbourne’s top startups to Indonesia to help globalise its plan to make cities safer using crowdsourced data.

She’s A Crowd – a winner of our latest Open Innovation Competition – invites women and non-binary people to report their experiences of feeling unsafe through an anonymous digital storytelling platform.

The stories are geotagged, timestamped and aggregated, and the insights shared with key decision-makers to help them create safer cities.

When Zoe Condliffe began to share her experiences of gender-based violence, many other people came forward to share their stories.

This sparked Zoe’s interest in storytelling as a tool to help victims heal and process trauma, and feel less alone.

Did you know
People have shared more than 96 million stories about sexual harassment and assault on Twitter in the past eight years. However, more than 80 per cent of victims don’t report sexual assault.

Inspired by the 1960s feminist liberation movement, when women met up to share their experiences of sexual assault and sexism, Zoe set out to digitise this process and provide the data to people in power.

‘I want She’s A Crowd to be the biggest spatial dataset for the prevention of gender-based violence in five years’ time,’ Zoe said.

‘You can’t fix a problem if you don’t understand it. Technology offers us the opportunity to make cities safer using an empowerment model rather than a paternalistic or surveillance model.

‘Women are already engaging with it – we’ve seen this with movements such as #MeToo – and all She’s A Crowd is doing is harnessing that engagement for real geospatial data to inform real change.’

Indonesia is predicted to be the world’s fifth largest economy by 2030, and it is an important trading partner for us in sectors such as technology, science and innovation.

With a young and tech-savvy population, Bandung is one of Indonesia’s top three smart cities and we are actively building on our relationship with the city to create more opportunities for Melbourne businesses.

The Open Innovation Competition was a great opportunity to tap into the creativity and expertise of both cities to solve common challenges. International prizes were awarded to both She’s A Crowd and Indonesian startup Avion.

Avion has created a device that can convert the noise from vehicle horns into vibration to increase security for hearing impaired drivers and motorcyclists. The team will visit Melbourne soon to gather insights about how this could work in our city.

Zoe is looking forward to meeting with stakeholders in Bandung in September and exploring the market potential to launch She’s A Crowd in south-east Asia.

‘It is wonderful to see such interest from the Bandung City Council, university sector and consul general,’ Zoe said.

‘It means we are on the right track to helping cities all over the world practice gender mainstreaming, and make their cities safer and more liveable for women.

‘I am looking forward to spending time with the people in Bandung, engaging in conversation around gender-equality and technology, and connecting with women to chat about their experiences of safety in the city.’

Zoe designed She’s A Crowd as a global platform and believes it is key for the tool to speak to women and non-binary people from all different backgrounds, geographies and lived experience.

‘We all have the right to feel safe moving around our cities, our homes, our schools and workplaces. We need to feel safe as a baseline so we can thrive and access opportunities equally,’ Zoe said.

‘My vision is that every single woman, anywhere in the world, has the chance to share her story and that story can be used by people in power to inform how we address this problem into the future.’

To find out more about our innovative relationships with Indonesia and China, visit Lord Mayor showcases startups in Asia.

For more information about our work to support entrepreneurs and startups to grow and go global, visit Startups and innovation.

Share this story

You may also like
Making magic happen for city businesses

Making magic happen for city businesses

Meet the business concierge who’s working behind the scenes to bring dreams to life for city businesses. Every time Lisa Guest takes a call from someone with a question about running a business in the city, she looks for the magic in the moment. “Behind every...

Virtual reality startup empowers people with limb loss 

Virtual reality startup empowers people with limb loss 

A promising Melbourne startup is using virtual reality to improve outcomes for people with limb loss in the critical time while they wait for a prosthesis. We’re supporting Virtetic on its journey from prototype to global impact through our Invest Melbourne team,...

Five deadly First Nations businesses to discover

Five deadly First Nations businesses to discover

Taste the flavours of the Torres Strait, fall in love with changemaking Aboriginal art and browse designer fashion that supports children in remote communities. Whether you’re dining out, buying a gift or contracting services for your workplace, we can all play a role...

Twins tackle climate change, one building at a time 

Twins tackle climate change, one building at a time 

Imagine if a piece of software could save enough energy to power more than 160,000 homes for a year and reduce emissions equivalent to removing 195,000 cars from the road. All this and nearly $318 million in annual energy savings is possible for Australia’s commercial...

Subscribe to our newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the City of Melbourne by subscribing to the Melbourne newsletter.

You have successfully subscribed!