It’s 2:14 a.m. on a Wednesday night. You just finished your paper due at 9 a.m.. The library you’ve been working from is a 20 minute walk from home. Do you call a $55 Uber? Or do you walk home by yourself, constantly looking over your shoulder?
This is a thought process that many students, especially women, undergo on a daily basis. In fact, almost 81% of women in the United States alone reported experiencing sexual harassment at some point in their lives.
Having experienced street harassment herself and knowing the statistics, Emily Owen (GHD’21), set out to provide an innovative solution for women’s safety through her company, Bibti.
Bibti is a walking buddy app that connects women with other women within a certain radius to walk together or provide additional protection in public places. Bibti, shortened from the Arabic word “habiti” and translates to “my love” or “my darling,” is a word of endearment used among female friends. The sentiment of “habiti” is embodied by Bibiti in its mission of promoting safety, resources, and empowerment for women in transport.
Inspiration struck while Owen was a student at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service completing her Master’s of Global Human Development Economics and International Development. In January 2020, Owen participated in the Global Social Innovation Lab. Her team was composed of all females, all of whom were very aware of the dangers women face on the street when walking home alone. Using the lean startup method, they conducted interviews with women internationally about the problems they faced in transportation. Their conversations confirmed that women did not feel safe getting to and from their destinations – no matter where they were located across the world..
Recently, as a finalist in the 2021 Bark Tank – the annual student pitch competition sponsored by Ted Leonsis where founders compete for a prize pool of $100,000 – the Bibti team took home $5,000. The Venture Lab is proud to provide a workspace for the Bibti team as they prepare to launch.
Owen is using the prize money to launch the Bibti beta version within the Georgetown community, which is available for students on March 14, 2022.
“I would love to get 100 users within the first week, because then we would have enough people within the same location that we can guarantee matches.,” said Owens. “Our goal is to have 500 walks by the end of the academic year.”
Curious about how the platform works? Let’s take a look at how a user requests a walking buddy in their demo video below.
Let’s help get Bibti to 500 walks! Interested walkers can sign up today at app.bibti.app or scan the QR codes on Bibti posters throughout the Georgetown community.