In 1999, my mother took a $12/hour H-1B visa job so we could escape gun violence in South Africa. I'm now the CEO of a startup that uses AI to save lives during active shooter incidents. AMA!
South Africa's homicide rate per capita is currently the 10th highest in the world, nearly 5x higher than that of the United States. I grew up in Johannesburg from 1992-1999 - during this time, it was twice as bad as it is now.
As a child, I grew up constantly hearing of harrowing personal accounts from family friends who were carjacked and robbed at gun point. The government would run advertisements on television advising people to not stop for traffic lights at night unless absolutely necessary. The flats we lived in had 3 levels of security - a spiked metal fence for the complex, steel reinforced doors for the unit, and another layer of steel reinforced doors to go upstairs where the bedrooms were.
The straw that broke the camel's back was when one of our close family friends who was the founder of a Chinese-language newspaper was fatally shot in his own home during an intrusion.
My mother decided to take a leap of faith and bring me and my sister to the United States on an H-1B visa paying a meager wage. We were evicted from my aunt's house after 3 months, and another relative took us in until my mother could afford our own apartment.
9 years in the Marine Corps and an MBA later, I decided to tackle an issue that I am deeply passionate about and started a company that develops AI software to automatically identify gun threats. We are now raised over $1 million of venture funding and are working with schools in Chicago, New York, and Seattle.
Ask me anything!
Here is a recent article about us: https://www.forbes.com/sites/elizabethmacbride/2018/12/29/smart-security-cameras-aim-for-5-billion-threat-detection-market