Sex assault prevention app created by Cal Poly grads wins 'Shark Tank'-style competition

Ulzi, an app created by Cal Poly graduates Maxwell Fong and Elan Timmons to help prevent sexual assaults, won the attention of investors and $100,000 at the first-ever Central California Angel Conference on March 29.

The conference was hosted by Cal Poly's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and was set up so that investors could choose local startups to support based on their presentations that night, similar to the popular TV show, "Shark Tank."

Each investor contributed $6,000 in a fund set up as a limited liability company (LLC) and had the potential to invest a grand total of $200,000 into the competing companies, according to a news release. About 60 percent of investors were from San Luis Obispo County, 30 percent were from Santa Barbara County and 10 percent were from Fresno County.

Cal Poly graduates Maxwell Fong and Elan Timmons are founders of Ulzi, a startup company in San Luis Obispo that’s creating an app that they hope will help prevent sexual assaults. David Middlecamp

Ulzi took home the $100,000 grand prize, beating the five other competing companies for the pot. The company also won the audience's choice award, according to a news release.

The app, which is expected to launch this spring, features a range of personal security features, including a “red alert” that notifies the police of your location, starts recording audio and video on your phone for evidence, sends a notification to your friends and/or family and notifies people nearby who also have the app that you are in trouble, with the hopes that someone could intervene.

Fong has said he hopes the app will act as a new wave of safety-focused technology that can change the way we address personal safety.

“The world is changing, but safety hasn’t.," he said in a previous Tribune article. "And we’re setting out to change that.”

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928; @kaytyleslie
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