Today’s #RealLifeWonderWoman is protecting and empowering women through technology. Kanthi Yalamanchili is the founder and CEO of Rizlet, a tech startup that aims to empower women and create chic, smart wearables that help keep them safe. Kanthi founded the company in March 2016 after the college-aged daughter of one of her coworkers went missing and was found days later in a swamp.
Kanthi, who grew up in India, had a passion for STEM since childhood. Prior to founding Rizlet, she researched hydrogen fuel cells at the National Center for Hydrogen Research for NASA and also worked as an engineer with data storage leader Seagate Technologies. She currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and baby daughter.
Meet Kanthi Yalamanchili. She’s brilliant and strong, passionate and visionary, motivated and caring. She’s today’s real-life Wonder Woman!
KR: What brings you joy and fulfillment?
KY: FAMILY AND FRIENDS BRING THE ULTIMATE JOY TO MY LIFE. READING AND TRAVELING ARE UP THERE AS WELL. I FIND FULFILLMENT IN MOTHERHOOD, IN MY JOURNEY OF BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR AND WORKING FOR A CAUSE.
KR: What inspired you to design the Rizlet?
KY: THERE WERE TWO MAJOR INCIDENTS THAT STRUCK ME CONSECUTIVELY, WHICH LED TO THE DEISGN OF RIZLET.
1) I WAS SO DISTRAUGHT AFTER WATCHING A DOCUMENTARY CALLED ‘INDIA’S DAUGHTER’, WHERE A MEDICAL STUDENT GOT BRUTALLY RAPED AND MURDERED BY 6 INDIVIDUALS ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.
2) A COUPLE OF MONTHS LATER, ONE OF MY CO-WORKER’S DAUGHTERS WENT MISSING AND A WEEK LATER WAS FOUND MURDERED AND DUMPED IN A SWAMP. SEEING MY CO-WORKER GO THROUGH THIS TRAUMA WAS ULTIMATELY WHAT MADE ME QUIT MY JOB AND PURSUE RIZLET.
KR: How does Rizlet work?
KY: WHEN ANYONE IS IN AN UNCOMFORTABLE SITUATION (BEING STALKED, OR ATTACKED) ALL ONE MUST DO IS HIT THE S.O.S. BUTTON THREE TIMES CONSECUTIVELY TO TRIGGER A 911 CALL AND EMERGENCY TEXT MESSAGE WITH LIVE LOCATION DETAILS TO YOUR EMERGENCY CONTACTS. RIZLET ALSO EMITS A SHRILL ALARM AND A STROBE LIGHT TO DETER THE ATTACKER AND ALERT PASSERBY. WE’VE INTEGRATED SEVERAL PRECAUTIONARY SAFETY FEATURES AND A FITNESS TRACKER FOR CUSTOMERS’ CONVIENIENCE. MOST IMPORTANTLY, UNLIKE OTHER SAFETY PRODUCTS, WE’VE MADE THE DEIVCE VERY SLEEK AND STYLISH SO WOMEN CAN INTEGRATE IT INTO THEIR STYLE.
KR: We all have inner superpowers. What are some of yours?
KY: PERSEVERANCE – THIS IS A LEARNED SKILL FROM MY EXPERIENCES SINCE I WAS A CHILD. SOME USED TO CALL IT STUBBORNNESS! 😀
KR: Can you tell us about an influential woman in your life and how she inspired you?
KY: THERE ARE MANY STRONG WOMEN THAT HAD INFLUENCE ON ME INCLUDING MY MOM, MY AUNT, MY SCHOOL TEACHERS, MY FRIENDS. BUT THE MOST INFLUENTIAL OF ALL IS MY GRANDMOM. SHE WAS THE ONE WHO TAUGHT ME HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO RESPECT EVERYTHING THAT HELPS FOR YOUR SUSTENANCE ON THIS EARTH (LIKE FOOD, WATER, EDUCATION, ETC.) AND FOR WOMEN TO BE INDEPENDENT AND LEAD.
KR: If you could have one super-human power, what would it be?
KY: TIME TRAVEL ABILITIES.
KR: Knowing what you know at this stage of your life, what words of wisdom would you give to your 20-year-old self?
KY: INVESTING IN INCOME GENERATING PROPERTIES AND STOCKS FROM YOUR EARLY 20s IS ONE ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY 20-YEAR-OLD SELF.
If you’re interested in learning about the Rizlet Kickstarter Campaign, CLICK HERE.