On 08 Dec 2017, the UNICEF Innovation Fund announces 6 new investments in open source technology solutions – RedCrow is among one of six new portfolio companies to receive investment.
The UNICEF Innovation Fund invests in technology start-ups from developing markets that are working on open source solutions to improve children’s lives. The Innovation Fund applies a venture capital approach to source solutions that can impact the lives of the most vulnerable children. These solutions are clustered around $100billion industries in frontier technology spaces.
Check out www.unicefinnovationfund.org for more information – including real-time data – on each investment.
How would you describe your solution to children?
You are travelling in a new place – not sure which road to take, what area to visit, and where to pass by. You feel unsafe – only with a map in hand – and without no information to alert you on potential high-risk areas. What if there was a tool that could show you potentially dangerous places – reported by people who’ve come across them?
RedCrow provides a platform for people to point out dangerous incidents and places – visualized through maps using a mobile application and a website. The information that people receive through this platform helps them identify whether it is safe or not — to move from one point to another.
How would you describe it, if your audience comprised of subject matter experts and investors?
In closer detail, RedCrow is a company that provides risk mitigation solutions to organizations and individuals operating in volatile political environments; through an online platform, mobile application, and other customized services.
Providing our users with real-time security intelligence through different delivery forms enables them to avoid potential threats on both tactical and strategic levels. We are currently operating in the State of Palestine, Egypt, and Jordan — and will be expanding further in the MENA region during 2018.
What is unique about your solution and how is it different from what currently exists?
Our competitors spend a lot of their resources hiring people to collect information from social media and examine its credibility before sending it to their users. The system RedCrow has developed is fully automated and does not rely on human intervention. This means that the system itself constantly collects information from social media, analyzes it, and sends it to our users as alerts, charts, and predictions. This cycle takes less than two minutes from the minute data is collected until it is delivered; by that, the system lessens time, money and margin of error.
Why does being open-source make your solution better?
Anyone interested in the platform’s algorithm can edit, update or imply any changes needed, which in turn allows for a faster development of the original source code and paves way to a wider range of uses. It also creates and fosters a community around the product – advancing the research and development of the product.
How did you come up with your solution and what inspired you to form your company?
When the Arab Spring was still escalating, around 2012, co-founders Hussein Nasser Eddin, Laila Akel, and Tayeb Akel started discussing the possibility of utilizing social media in order to develop a security intelligence system that would help people operating in MENA to detect the threats around them and mitigate the risk they may encounter.
How did your team come together? What is your team’s MO and drive towards the problem you’re trying to solve?
As old friends, Laila Akel, Tayeb Akel, and Hussein Nasser Eddin decided to combine their academic backgrounds in social media, web-based systems and security (respectively), as well as their work experience and entrepreneurial skills, this convergence brought RedCrow to life — serving the local and regional need for innovative security services.
The idea came up when we realized that humanitarian aid and NGO on-the-ground operators have the least access to security information that can save their lives because they are not included under any political or governmental umbrella. RedCrow’s idea was to address this problem through providing people with accessible security information, that can help them have better informed decisions on their safety and security.
What do you plan on doing with UNICEF’s Venture Fund investment and how will you use that to leverage raising follow-on investment?
The support from UNICEF’s Venture Fund investment will help us develop and integrate Arabic Natural Language Processing in our platform. Additionally, we will be building features that can classify data into different categories, i.e. security, politics and crime. These developments will also include identifying different Arabic dialects and the regions they belong to – enabling RedCrow to efficiently accelerate the system and break into new markets in MENA.