It has been recently among the winners of the Digital Innovation Days 2018. Only the latest award received by the Wher team confirming the validity of their “creation”. So, what does this startup do?
Let’s start with the problem it solves. Mobility for single women is often conditioned by the fear of finding oneself in unpleasant or even dangerous conditions, above all in unknown places: assaults, robberies, muggings, rapes, in the worst cases, but even the mere verbal assault or being annoyed insistently, can ruin an evening and arouse that feeling of insecurity that drives many women to give up moving alone, especially at night. Wher is an app dedicated to women’s mobility, which provides a map with information on city road safety and services devoted to women.
The company that has recently completed a process of acceleration at the SocialFare incubator in Turin, one of the most representative among those Italians dedicated to social impact.
How it works
Wher relies on the social value given by the Community and on the value of the data collected.
Users register and self-profile by entering their mobility habits and choosing the city of interest to discover which are the blocks and streets suggested by the Community. After a brief description of the selected area, the evaluations left by other users are displayed with road safety information based on one of the three selected time slots (day, evening and night). The purple roads are the safest ones according to different parameters such as the degree of crowding of the area, the level of light but also the different moods that that place generates. Personal feeling and mobility habits are crucial in determining whether or not to advise a friend to take a street trip, especially when leaving for a trip and not being “familiar” with the city you are going to visit. With regard to data, the app is technologically well-made and, according to the company, the only one in the world integrating data from women’s communities sharing information and mobility strategies (as in reviews on Tripadvisor or comments in Google Local Guides on Google Maps), with data from open source platforms on useful points of interest for women such as bus stops, taxi parks, nightclubs and pink parking lots.
Wher growth: financing, FCA, next steps
In 2016 Wher won the TIM #WCAP Bologna acceleration program. During 2017 the team worked on the beta version of the app and, in October 2017, was selected to be accelerated until March 2018 by SocialFare, an Italian hub entirely dedicated to Social Innovation in Turin. In September 2018 it closed a €450,000 financing round led by Oltre Venture, the Italian fund for Social Impact, and began to increase the team with new young professionals.
“The day the application was launched was March 8th. FCA put the news on its intranet dedicating the app to all female employees,” says Eleonora Gargiulo. A nice way to celebrate the launch of the business. This is just the beginning, since surprises never end. Last October, Wher’s team, which in the meantime was joined by Roberta Marini as Digital Strategy Manager, entered the Digital Innovation Days 2018 as the startup is among the winners of the event dedicated to digital innovation: “A great emotion getting on one of the most beautiful stages I’ve ever seen” said Mrs. Gargiulo. “It was a great opportunity to experience a different storytelling, where we told our story not as a pitch but by underlining the social value of the company” says the founder, while thinking about future challenges.
In the coming months, Wher will pursue two goals: a technological enhancement that will combine the open data analysis service, already developed by the startup, with a machine learning system to amplify and enhance the work done by users, making Wher maps even more accurate. The second aim is to increase the presence of the Wher community in other cities, both Italian and European, to offer a service increasingly in line with the needs of women, wherever they are.