February 22, 2023

HBCU Student Receives $25K From Pharrell Williams For Gun Safety Tech Startup

Kayla Austin has received a $25,000 grant from Pharrell Williams to help accelerate her gun safety start-up, My Gun’s Been Moved

Last year, the 19-year-old Howard University sophomore pitched her idea at Pharrell Williams’ Mighty Dream Forum and Black Ambition in Virginia. Her passion was awarded a $25,000 cash prize to help bring her business to new heights. 

Austin came up with the idea to launch a gun safety initiative at 12 years old after attending a youth program.

“So, I found out that majority of shootings involving children and teens happen with a parent’s gun,” Austin said in an interview.  

“I expected to hear about school shootings, but I was really surprised to see that most gun violence involving children starts in the home – children having access to their parent’s guns.” 

After being exposed to gun violence in her neighborhood and hearing heart-breaking stories from people in her local community, Austin decided to use her knowledge and passion for technology to help solve this issue. 

My Gun’s Been Moved is a start-up that provides licensed gun owners with a 24/7 monitor and app alerts if their gun has been moved or misplaced. The platform also uses patent-pending technology to detect the presence and removal of a firearm. 

Although winning $25,000 is a fantastic leap for the platform alongside the additional $20,000 in resources and advertising received. Austin still needs $75,000 to launch the program successfully and has launched a GoFundMe page to help reach her target. 

The funding will go towards the product’s final launch, creating history as the first technology-driven gun safety product to save lives. 

Kumba Kpakima

Kumba Kpakima is a reporter at POCIT. A documentary about the knife crime epidemic in the UK got her a nomination for the UK's #30toWatch Young Journalists of the Year.