Anti-Assault Wearable Roars to Crazy Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

It's raised $193,000 and counting. Now it's time to build a business.

Athena, the first product from Roar for Good.

Athena, the first product from Roar for Good.

If there was any doubt that Roar For Good would be a hit, the verdict is in: It’s a smash. The company recently launched its first product Athena, a wearable distress-signaling device aimed at deterring assaults against women. It’s basically a button the size of a half dollar, that sounds an alarm and sends a text message to selected contacts with your GPS coordinates and an option to call police.

The company is about two weeks into its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign and has seen incredibly impressive results, even though it still has 14 days left.

Check out these mind-blowing stats:

  • 634,000 YouTube hits on the company’s promotional video.
  • $193,072 in funding so far — far surpassing its original goal of $40,000.
  • That means the company is 483 percent funded.
  • The company has received pre-orders from 1,500 people in 33 countries.

The product has garnered media attention from MTV News, Mashable, Fortune, the Huffington Post and plenty of others.

“We’re thrilled at the response we’ve received but we can’t get excited about assaults against women. We’re humbled by the responsibility we have, and this campaign showed us there’s a need for this and we want to develop a solution that can help,” said Anthony Gold, who co-founded the company with Yasmine Mustafa from the University City Science Center.

Now comes the hard part: Building a business. With just 10 part- and full-time employees, the company hopes to deliver pre-orders for Athena by the spring of 2016 — but that means Roar will have to find the right manufacturing partner to turn Athena from prototype to a re-produceable device. The company is currently evaluating manufacturers and supply-chain partners to find the right one.

“We need to make sure the people we’re picking can help us deliver on our mission,” said Gold. “We’re not looking to take any shortcuts.”

Another task will be making sure Athena works on Windows phones. Currently it’s set up for Apple iOS and Android mobile platforms.

Marketing is also going to be expanded at some point in the future. Although the original marketing campaign was aimed to deter sexual assaults against women, Athena can be used for men, children and seniors as well. Gold said that part of the plan going forward is to market the product for those uses as well.

Gold and Mustafa also hope Athena is just the beginning of its product line.

“I envision a day where we can actually do some video recording and audio recording within the device itself,” said Gold. “I envision a much louder alarm. There are also other ways to make it ubiquitous, like building it into clothing.”

Since the company has pledged to donate 10 percent of its proceeds to non-profits that teach empathy and understanding, the company is on the hunt for more partners. Currently, it’s aligned with the One Love Foundation and Women Against Abuse. Gold says they’d love to partner with Take Back the Night as well.

When developing the product, Mustafa and Gold wondered if they should move the business to Silicon Valley — a place where startup capital seems to be falling from the sky. But they decided to stay in Philly instead.

“We’ve been pleased with that decision,” said Gold. “It was nice that Mayor Nutter tweeted about the crowdfunding campaign. We used resources like NextFab to print some of our prototype devices. Fitly has been a great friend. DreamIt was terrific for the initial launch. I think we’ve had a really nice symbiotic relationship with the city.”

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