Making the world a safer place with WalkSafe

Everybody has the right to feel safe, wherever they are and in any situation. Born off the back of wanting to make change, WalkSafe was founded in 2020 with the aim of giving users as much information about their surroundings as possible.

The app has already surpassed 500,000 downloads. Since then, the team has expanded and WalkSafe operates with one goal in mind: to make the world a safer place.

WalkSafe provides the tools to allow you to make informed decisions around your personal safety. Founder, Emma Kay is the daughter of a met police officer. Of course, this meant that whilst growing up there were many house rules to help Emma and her siblings stay safe. Despite this, Emma experienced catcalling, following, groping and flashing, from as young as 13.

Two thirds of 16- to 35-year-olds state that they have experienced one form of harassment over a 12-month period. This data, coupled with the recent tragic deaths of Ashling Murphy, Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa, make it crystal clear that the problem extends beyond one individual.

“There’s always a lot of noise when an incident initially happens, but this quietens down again. We’re tackling these issues continuously, keeping the pressure on and raising awareness,” said Emma.

During a stint volunteering at a community centre, Emma’s eyes were opened as it became clear that it is not only women that fear the streets at night. Safety is an issue affecting everyone from all walks of life. Emma’s career in childcare highlighted the importance of educating young people about issues like consent, gender bias and the importance of preventative actions.

“It wasn’t until the birth of my daughter that I thought I cannot imagine in 10 years’ time when she is 12 that she too would experience this. It made me feel physically sick,” exclaimed Emma.

This was therefore the call to action, and so WalkSafe was born, believing technology, combined with its vision can genuinely help lives.

The Walksafe map & Walksafe+ tracker

The WalkSafe map is valuable to users to identify repeated local crime hotspots and plan safer routes. Ex-police crime analysts have demonstrated that repeated crime hotspots are predictive of future crime. By looking at the updated police data monthly on the WalkSafe map, you can build a picture of repeated crime locations and where crime is likely to happen again.

For incidents including knife crime, sexual assaults and muggings, police crime data is used which is published monthly, therefore this data on the map is verified. The WalkSafe community can post icons, including no streetlights, restricted access, rowdy groups and feeling unsafe. These display with a green ring around the icon.

The WalkSafe+ tracker allows users to set trusted friends and build a circle to follow you on your planned trips.

Safety awareness seminars

“We believe that human safety is a basic human right. Everyone should be able to feel safe always and we’re adamant that our app should be free to the core user to make safety accessible to all,” said Emma.

This led the team to decide to find revenue from elsewhere, thus where safety awareness seminars come in to play. Businesses are increasingly aware of the risks to their employees as they commute to and from work, particularly during antisocial hours. WalkSafe’s Personal Safety Awareness Seminars for employees are presented by former Scotland Yard detectives specialising in violent assaults. Seminars are based around everyday routine events, highlighting real incidents, with methods of avoidance and advice on deflecting unwanted behaviour.

Raising funds

WalkSafe is fortunate to have support from Emma’s father-in-law and Chairman, Andrew Kay who has experience in raising funds and knew what he was doing.

Having an excellent, well-aligned team has made the funding process easier for WalkSafe: “We’re all good in our specific areas. It is hard writing pitch decks, standing in front of people asking for investment, it’s hard doing all of this if you’ve never done it before. You need support,” said Emma.

Fearless Adventures has led a £300,000 investment round to grow WalkSafe by injecting capital but also providing digital marketing support and talent sourcing. It was a huge deal to gain the investment from Fearless, who immediately saw Emma’s vision and got on board. The first half of this investment was injected by Fearless, and the second half is through Seedrs, allowing investment in startups via equity crowdfunding.


There are startups out there working on tackling personal safety. Specifically, Hollie Guard, operating to safeguard people where it matters via a smartphone app. In 2014, Hollie Gazzard was murdered by her ex-partner, and since then her father Nick has campaigned tirelessly to make sure people are safe.

Emma said: “What Nick is doing is truly commendable. I fully support him and everything he is doing. Hollie Guard however focuses more on the domestic abuse side of safety, protecting victims of domestic violence.”

A huge differentiator is that WalkSafe uses real time police data, its biggest USP. “I feel like I’ve been lucky enough to be used for comments by different media outlets, and as a woman, I’m able to give comment on things because I’ve experienced it,” explained Emma.

This personal experience allows young girls especially to empathise and know that Emma understands how it feels.

Highs and lows

One of the biggest challenges so far has been having a new-born whilst juggling a startup. “I was breastfeeding every two hours in between doing major talks. It was really hard. It was emotionally draining and probably the toughest year of my life because even though I was loving it, I was trying to juggle my new-born baby, and my business which is also my baby,” said Emma.

The highlight has been seeing the difference that WalkSafe is making and meeting wonderful people. “Sometimes when I get messages from other girls about how we’ve helped them, it makes it worth it. It makes all those long nights and the tears worth it,” said Emma.

This article originally appeared in the Sept/Oct issue of Startups Magazine. Click here to subscribe.