Neta Schreiber GamlielWhen Neta Schreiber Gamliel (30) made her first steps in the technological world, she recalled an incident she went through as a girl.

“I went out with some friends to a party at the villa, when one of my friends disappeared from us. We went to look for her and after a few minutes we found her in one of the rooms with two men, half naked, half conscious,” she recalls. “When they entered the room, the men ran away and we realized that we had saved her life. From that moment on, we created a system of internal laws between our friend group that was designed to protect each other.”

About a decade and a half later, this event ignited the creation of SafeUP, a social network for women that allows them to help each other in real time to feel safer and prevent incidents of harassment and sexual assault.

In August, Schreiber Gamliel and partner Tal Zohar launched the app together with the Tel Aviv Municipality. Within three months, they had reached 11,000 users and six local authorities paying for the service. Today, the company is taking its first steps in the United States, with the goal of expanding worldwide, and is just before the seed fundraiser, after raising $700,000 for pre-seed.

Schreiber Gamliel, a mother of a two-year-old child, describes herself as someone who has been involved in social entrepreneurship ever since she can remember. “As a girl, the most significant project I initiated and led was Scouts of Hadassah, an affiliate of the Scouts movement at Hadassah Hospital.” In the army, she served as an IDF officer and later studied economics and psychology at Ben-Gurion University, and was part of a cadet program for local government. After graduating, she worked as deputy director of the education department in the city of Harish, before its establishment.

“In my personal journey I realized that this was not the place for me to enact change and make an impact, especially regarding the pace at which things moved and the results that were obtained,” she says. “That’s how I became an entrepreneur.”

Her first step in the world of start-ups was in the Bookit app, which connects customers and providers in the areas of lifestyle for women. “In doing so, I discovered the world of technological entrepreneurship, learned about it and fell in love with it, and realized it was my destiny in life,” she explains, adding that she participated with Bookit in the “Sharks” program and won the investment, but preferred not to pursue it in order to focus on SafeUP.

“The goal is to change the current reality, to make the world a safer place,” she says. “I’m part of a big movement of women who are willing to tackle the culture of rape and patriarchy. We have no patience for it any longer.”

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Actually no! Though from a young age I always aspired to be a leader and make a big change for good in the world with joining communities through tech. So, my dream came true with Safe UP.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Of course, yes. I was previously part of a few negative organizations that kept me down and I experienced toxic work environments that led me to opening my own company. One door closes another one opens!

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

SafeUP! Building from an idea with an amazing partners and tiny team into a global organization – I often have to pinch myself but I know it’s real. Please join us and send to any female in your network

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

My home and upbringing always gave me the confidence to aim to fly high, no barriers, no limits of what you can do and of course the incredible people in my community and strong female mentors.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

If you believe you can do – go with it. Be determined, don’t take no for an answer. Surround yourself with people who support and believe in you.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

Unfortunately, yes is the simple answer. The statistics are clear to us that women are not receiving enough support, networks and funding.

Barriers are overcome by supporting each other without a question. Not what in it for me. Just do and help the women in your community connect and succeed. Be their champion at every junction and open your rolodex.

What do you think companies can do to support the progress of the careers of women working in technology?

HIRE MORE WOMEN, give them a platform to grow – we are you best employees, innovators, creators and management. Make your board rooms equal and or more diverse.

There still a lot of work to empower women who don’t believe they can be in tech and we know they can.

There is currently only 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Self Belief, confidence, build it in from day one and if you lack it, you can learn it.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

WeAreTechWomen has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Professor Sue Black OBE, Debbie Forster MBE, Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here