About Their Business & Career: The statistics are staggering: One in five women in the United States has experienced rape or attempted rape in their lifetime, with 81 percent experiencing some form of sexual assault. And as two survivors, Fitzgerald and de Zárraga were painfully aware that the personal safety industry had missed the mark. So, after working with thousands of people over four years to develop their product, they launched Flare. The wearable tech brand currently offers two different styles of smart bracelets that connect with the company’s app. By touching a hidden button, the wearer can trigger a fake phone call, text friends for help, send GPS locations and even call the police to discretely take control when needed in unsafe situations.
Why They Made the Worthy 100: Both Fitzgerald and de Zárraga had a passion for solving social issues when they met at HBS, and that passion is evident in Flare’s mission: to put themselves out of business and create a world where Flare is no longer necessary. On their website, the two founders refer to their product as a “stopgap for today while real change is made,” and they aren’t sitting around waiting for that change either. The company has lobbied Congress, calling for the passage of the Violence Against Women Act and demanding accountability and real action to eliminate the “safety tax.” But they are clear that Flare isn’t just for women—they want to empower any and all marginalized communities. To help do that, they offer the Flare Nomination Program, which allows you to nominate someone in need who cannot currently afford a Flare; each month, Flare selects as many as five people to receive a free bracelet.
Industry: Retail/Consumer Electronics
Year Founded: 2017
Headquarters: Boston, Mass.