Pittsburgh startup develops app for women business travelers
A Pittsburgh startup is developing a mobile application to connect women who are traveling on business.
“They won't have to settle for loneliness. They won't have to settle for crappy room service. They won't have to settle for feeling unsafe,” said Ellen Saksen, CEO and co-founder of GoJaneGo.co and its app, Amelia .
The app was one of a dozen startups featured this week at AlphaLab's 2017 Demo Day in Munhall. AlphaLab describes the venture as a “business woman's insurance against safety issues and burnout on the road,” noting that 50 million American women make about 200 million business trips a year.
Saksen, 42, of Marshall is partnering in the venture with her sister Kate Nichols, 36, of Morgantown, W.Va., and app designer Sanjana Baldwa, 22, of Boston, a Carnegie Mellon University graduate.
All three are accustomed to the tribulations that businesswomen face on the road. Saksen recalled a business trip that her sister took in which Nichols stayed in a hotel in New York's Meatpacking District and wanted to go for a run just before dusk.
“She didn't feel safe, and I remember her telling me how frustrated and irritated she felt,” Saksen said. “A strong, accomplished woman didn't feel safe going out in the dark alone.”
With the app, Nichols might have been able to connect with other women business travelers in the area who wanted to join her on a run.
A pilot of the Amelia app — inspired by aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart — connects women on business trips through mutual LinkedIn connections and interests. It will run through the fall before officially launching, said Saksen, who is selling the concept to companies.
“I think the app is a brilliant idea,” said Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis, herself a frequent business traveler.
Cassotis, who has met with the developers, said the app “caters to an important, underutilized market segment — professional women traveling for business.”
Cassotis think the app could benefit more than just women who are traveling on business.
“I think there's a place where airports can benefit from that,” Cassotis said. “There could be a place where these women can meet and network (at the airport) rather than waiting at the gate by themselves.”
Emma Curtis is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7822, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @EmmaCurtisPGH.
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.