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This start-up has set out to better women’s safety when they go out


Founded in Melbourne, CharmSafe is a unique and easy to use SMS check up and emergency alert system that aims to help women protect themselves when dating, going out or travelling.

“We created CharmSafe to empower all women to explore the world in safer way,” Elena Zuban said about the motivation behind this start-up she started with her own savings.

“Personally, I lived on my own for nearly nine years and was amazed that there is nothing (other than pepper spray) available to address my personal safety.”

“And honestly, how often do we feel uneasy about going out to get some milk late at night? This has to stop! This discussion is especially relevant in the context of Sexual Violence Awareness Month and the upcoming festive season,” she added.

How does CharmSafe work?

You can register for a free trial at the website and once you set up your details, whenever you wish to activate an SMS check up, help will be only a SMS away.

Not only can CharmSafe notify your emergency contact (SMS “SOS”), they can also provide you a good excuse to leave the party (SMS “BORED”), or some encouraging words.

The service charges a small subscription fee of $4.99 per month – no hidden costs, no lock in contracts, no extra SMS charges.

Though it is currently a responsive web application, Elena revealed to Anthill that that they are working on releasing their app to GooglePlay and iTunes.

Below is what Elena had to further share with Anthill about her start-up.

What is the story behind CharmSafe?

I was born in Moscow to a family of engineers – dad was a rocket scientist and mum worked in the military logistics.

They are lovely people, but they both lack in the emotional intelligence department.

By the time I finished high school, they came up with a brilliant idea to send me to Australia to study architecture (to this day I still don’t know why Australia and why architecture).

So here I am, 17-year-old shy quite girl, landing in a country I know nothing about, no friends, no family. It was just like, “Boom, your whole life is gone now!”

With all the shuffling in between TAFE Certificate, mid-year intake in architecture school and host families I became more and more insecure.

By the time I was 19 years old I had full blown social anxiety and I was just hiding away in my little room. The Internet became my only salvation.

By the time I was 21 I was sick of it, and I decided that I need to take my life back, which is always easier said than done. 

The hardest thing for me was (and still is) to get out there, open up and meet new people.

I wanted to find friends, try new things and get back into business of living. At the same time, I had absolutely no-one to watch my back or encourage and support me.

Naturally, I tried to Google something like that. To my great surprise, I could not find any tool that can check up on my, provide me with some encouragement and help me stay safe.

I created CharmSafe to help someone like myself and many other who want to go out and explore the world, yet feel uneasy or unsafe.

What gap in the market are you filling with CharmSafe?

CharmSafe is truly unique – nothing like it is currently available.

CharmSafe really is you digital friend. It’s here to provide you encouragement and support. It’s always available, never judges, gossips, or forgets to SMS you.

It works across all time zones. You can switch your mobile number, change your emergency contact, move countries – CharmSafe will always be here ready to help.

It can be useful for various demographics. Our aim is to unite and empower all women: from teens, to TAFE and university students and single mums, expats, frequent travellers and sex workers.

All of us feel unsafe at different times. So, all of us can benefit from an SMS check up when going home late or meeting someone new. And a lot of us don’t want to appear melodramatic or just feel uncomfortable sharing their plans with friends or family.

We are also on a look out for partners and collaborative opportunities so feel free to reach out to us if you are passionate about women’s safety.