WeMakeItSafer was founded by Jennifer P. Toney, a mother of two, and Priyanka Reddy, a technology whiz focused on user experience. Jennifer and Priyanka set out to build WeMakeItSafer with one goal in mind - to save lives.
The idea for WeMakeItSafer grew out of Jennifer's experience as a litigation consultant who analyzed commercial damages for retailers and manufacturers by day and worried about whether the products she gave her own children were safe by night (and day).
"I remember the first product recall lawsuit I worked on." Jennifer recollects. "A few things stood out. First, I was a regular user of the product but had not heard of the recall until the day I started working on the case. Second, despite speculation to the contrary, company employees - from the CEO to the line workers - genuinely cared about their customers and felt miserably that such a mistake could have been made. Lastly, the financial and reputational impact of the recall was dramatic and grew worse every day that the product remained on store shelves and in homes, causing more injury. On top of the anguish of hurting others, it was unclear whether this company, and the jobs it provided, would survive."
The core of the problem is the same today as it was then - manufacturers do not know who owns their products. With direct communication of safety information impossible, companies rely on mass media and, more recently, social networking sites to get the word out. Both methods are largely ineffective and can even make the problem worse if not used carefully, as consumers become desensitized to the massive amounts of mostly irrelevant information.
Historically, for products falling under the CPSC jurisdiction, which is WeMakeItSafer's main focus, 80% of recalled products are never returned or fixed. Most often, consumers never learn about recalls relevant to them.
"In the information age, it is ridiculous that people continue to be hurt by products that both the government and the manufacturers know are dangerous," Jennifer says. "It is a problem that simply should not exist."
While researching solutions to the lack of safety information flow at the University of California at Berkeley, Jennifer met Priyanka, a fellow Cal student who shared Jennifer's passion for entrepreneurship and applying technology to solve social problems. Together, they set out to build technology that would enable important information to flow between companies and consumers while maintaining consumers' privacy. To keep each consumer's attention, they made sure the tools delivered only highly relevant, customized information about the products each user actually owns.
WeMakeItSafer's patent pending tools, built from the ground up on top of massive amounts of research, proprietary data and complex algorithms (not to mention a lot of blood, sweat and tears) are used by thousands of companies and consumers every day to help prevent product-related injuries and deaths.
Priyanka reflects, "It has taken tons of hard work and many long hours, but it's been incredibly fulfilling to build solutions that are aimed at saving lives. It's all the motivation I need to come to work every day!"
As a side note, in addition to their respective Masters (MBA, MSCS), both women also completed their undergraduate degrees at UC Berkeley - Economics and Japanese for Jennifer; Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences for Priyanka. It is no small wonder, then, that visitors to the WeMakeItSafer office must endure blue & gold decor and more than a few "Go Bears!" chants.
WeMakeItSafer tracks consumer product recalls issued by the CPSC since January 1999, child restraint and vehicle (but not after-market equipment) recalls issued by the NHTSA since January 1999, and FDA and UDSA recalls issued since May 2013. EPA and boat recalls are not included.
View a list of what's covered when you
browse recalls by product category here
and learn how
recalled children's products are classified