Delhi Engineer-Turned-Entrepreneur Develops Unique Mobile App for Women’s Safety

NEW DELHI:
Imagine a social network that isn’t a marketplace for media exchange like sending videos, audios or pictures and discourages mindless banter, but instead promotes ‘safety’ and ‘togetherness’.
In the crowded world of apps for travelling women, this new mobile app makes activities like car pooling or just being together a safer experience by offering a person the choice to choose the people in his/her surroundings instead of leaving it to a platform/algorithm to determine.
Anuj Dhawan, an alumnus of the Delhi Technological University (DTU), has given his app the name and brand of Ridenest ( http://www.ridenest.co.in/index.html) , which seeks to empower individuals to choose their assemblage — be it for travelling, going for a film, shopping or celebrating an event — and thus ensure their own safety to a large possible extent.
“It is not a ride-sharing app; it is rather about staying with/among the known circle, and it need not be only inside a car,” he explains.
The trigger for creating Ridernest was the gruesome Nirbhaya tragedy in Delhi in 2012 that underlined the vulnerability of people, especially women, travelling in the night.
“The horrific incident kept me thinking about creating some distinct device for the safety of Delhi’s female inhabitants. I realised that help was late to reach Nirbhaya on the fateful day, for none in the city had stopped by at the scene. Thus came the idea for the app Ridenest,” he says.
The app, which is freely available on the Google Playstore and Apple Appstore, has an SOS button in case of an emergency, which can help notify two individuals through SMS and can further be customized to broadcast a message to one’s nest. Users can also hide their location on the map, just by flipping a button in the settings.
Anuj, who has plunged headlong into entrepreneurship after leaving his lucrative job with companies like Evalueserve, The Smart Cube and FIITJEE, asserts that it is not another social network promoting mindless banter.
“In fact, on Ridenest you just cannot comment; instead you can ‘Join’. Inspired by safety, it promotes face to face interactions among known individuals who are admitted into a circle of trust (hence the term nest). Targeted at all mobile users, the app lets the user decide on the ‘known individuals’ for the nest, and is thus very different from a ‘friend list’ or regular contacts,” Anuj points out.
Ridenest is not a ride-hailing company. “Instead, it is a platform that enables people to come together or travel together. We don’t charge any fees or commission,” says the young startup.
Anuj gives an example. “Suppose I am travelling from Noida Sector 74 to IGI Airport, Delhi. I log on to this app and post ‘Travelling to IGI Airport’. All the people ONLY in my nest will get an alert and anyone having a similar travel plan can join me. Not only will it reduce the cost but could also help reduce the boredom of the 75-minute journey”.
Ridenest comes with a map where the user can exactly know where the individual in her/his nest is available. “Social networks induce technology-assisted loneliness. Ridenest wishes to mitigate it by bringing about technology-enabled unions among trusted individuals — real people, closely associated, meeting in real time. This is a major differentiator for us,” he says.
The response has been encouraging: it has been embraced by some corporates based in the NCR for their employees. “But the customer education is a big challenge. Advertisement being the principal source of revenue, user enrollment will attract potential advertisers,” Anuj says. “Our revenue model is based on location-specific, non-invasive form of advertising that does not manipulate a person’s emotions.”

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