PARIS—Project Callisto was named the winner of the inaugural #Tech4Good Challenge at Viva Technology Paris today. The conference hosted a gathering of more than 5,000 tech startups and 45,000 attendees. Presentations by 25 hand-selected companies in the #Tech4good Challenge resulted in five advancing to the final round of competition. The finalists represented a global look at the power of tech for social change:
Jess Ladd leads the team of Callisto, the winning digital technology platform that empowers students who are victims of sexual assault to report the crime.
“I’m honored!” Ladd said. “This work is personal and universal. With the issue of sexual assault and rape, knowing that you’re not the only one changes everything. It means you’re not going forward alone.”
Callisto was introduced last summer at the University of San Francisco and Pomona College. It addresses a severe problem women face when they are pursuing higher education goals: One in five will be sexually assaulted while in college. Less than 10 percent will report the crime. And of those who do, they will wait an average of 11 months. That lag in reporting correlates with the fact that 90 percent of assailants are repeat offenders. Project Callisto was born out of a collaboration between universities, tech companies and activist organizations across the United States, who are concerned about the safety of sexual well-being of students.
“The jury ultimately made its decision based on the innovation that has the best chance of using technology to change the status quo and affect a larger system,” Allison Duncan, CEO of Amplifier said. “We saw Callisto demonstrate this ability throughout the Tech4Good Challenge, and we congratulate Jess on her leadership on this issue and with this product.”
The five finalists pitched on Saturday to a juried audience of investors and tech executives. As the winner, Callisto will receive additional exposure and support from the Viva Tech global community of business and technology professionals. The team will receive mentoring from award sponsors and gain access to Le Comptoir de l’innovation’s global incubator network, IMPACT2.
“We organized #tech4good to be an inspiration for entrepreneurs to harness their creativity and innovation in ways that will tackle key social and environmental issues,” said Amplifier Head of Digital Chantal Buard. “The energy here is contagious. We are seeing what tech can do to make a lasting difference.”
The #Tech4good Challenge was hosted by San Francisco-based Amplifier, a 100-percent mission-driven social impact agency, and Next World, a global investment firm, and Le Comptoir de l’innovation, a French investment fund. Amplifier chose the 25 companies to participate and provided them with coaching and resources throughout the event.
Click here for a complete list of the innovative participants in #Tech4Good Challenge.