The Pitch: How this tiny hovercraft could save lives

Startup of the week:

Who they are: AirBoard, a San Mateo-based startup backed by Boost VC.

What they do: They’re building the world’s smallest manned aircraft.

Why it’s cool: The hovering scooter is controlled like a Segway — you lean forward to accelerate, and lean back to stop. It flies about 5 feet off the ground, thanks to four propellers positioned around the platform, and riders can zoom along at nearly 30 mph. But this gadget isn’t intended to be used just for fun. Its creators envision search and rescue organizations using it to save lives. They say their hover technology will allow rescuers to reach areas that might be inaccessible by cars or other means of transport.

Where they stand: AirBoard debuted during Boost VC’s recent demo day. The startup accelerator run by Adam Draper, son of renowned Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper, specializes in “sci-fi technologies” like drones, robots, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

Only in Silicon Valley:

OK, this one’s actually based in Arizona, but you have to wonder who it’s catering to, if not local techie families. BusyKid is an online platform that manages children’s chores, paying them an allowance for a job well done. But forget about wasting that money at the comic book store or candy shop — instead, kids can invest it by buying stocks in their favorite Silicon Valley companies, like Apple, Facebook and Netflix.

Run the numbers:

One in four women in tech have been sexually harassed at work, according to a study by Comparably, a Santa Monica-based platform that analyzes workplace compensation data. Seven percent of men also reported they’ve been sexually harassed at work. That data comes from a survey answered by more than 10,000 tech workers over the past year.

Women in IT were particularly likely to face sexual harassment at work, with 36 percent reporting they had. Women in human resources were the least likely, at 16 percent.

Some good news for the Bay Area: San Francisco was among the cities studied where tech employees of both genders were least likely to report sexual harassment — 9 percent said they’d been harassed. That compares to 16 percent in Los Angeles.

Click here:

Uber may  be wishing it had preemptively bought this domain name: whyeveryonehatesuber.com. Instead, the URL is run by donation-based organization SumOfUs, which operates under the tagline: “Fight for people over profits.” The website aggregates news articles about Uber — mostly documenting the embarrassing scandals that have plagued the company in recent weeks — and links to a petition signed by more than 70,000 people demanding the removal of CEO Travis Kalanick.

The Pitch comes out every Friday. Don’t miss an update. Sign up for our Good Morning Silicon Valley newsletter.

Photo: A hovercraft built by AirBoard, a San Mateo-based startup seeking to help search and rescue groups save lives by giving them better access to areas that are hard to reach. (Courtesy of AirBoard)

 

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