CBS3: Real Estate Startup Giving Philadelphia-Launched Safety Device To Employees​

Posted on Aug 23, 2017

As a Philadelphia B Corporation, Houwzer takes our employees' well-being seriously. 

So when we heard about Athena, a wearable personal safety device invented by fellow Philly start-up ROAR for Good, we had an "a-ha" moment: this device was the perfect way to give our agents peace-of-mind and an electronic support system. After receiving our first order for 10 devices, Houwzer's CEO Mike Maher and agent Ashlee Santee caught up with CBS3's Anita Oh to talk about what Athena will mean for the real estate industry. 

Real Estate Startup Giving Philadelphia-Launched Safety Device To Employees

By Anita Oh 

Houwzer athena .jpg

A few months ago, Eyewitness News told you about the Philadelphia-launched safety device called Athena, a small piece of technology connected to your smartphone that could have a big impact.

Thanks in part to that report, one Philadelphia-based company decided to help employees, quite literally, take their well-being into their own hands.

“The biggest upside of this product is the sense of security I have walking into sites like new construction, haven’t been completely finished, no lighting, meeting a client for most of the time the first time,” said real estate agent Ashley Santee.

Santee says she’d often tell friends and family to check in on her at certain times while showing homes to potential buyers.

Now, thanks to her employer Houwzer, a local real estate startup, she simply carries Athena.

Athena, a piece of wearable safety technology, is about the size of a quarter and can be clipped to clothes discreetly or worn around the neck.

Tap three times to notify your selected emergency contacts or hold down for three seconds and the emergency mode sounds loudly in an effort to scare off an attacker.

In part because of that report, Mike Maher, Houwzer’s CEO, says his company is paying to outfit its employees with Athena.

“We had an ‘a-ha’ moment over coffee and I thought-every real estate agent in America should be using Athena,” Maher said.

Maher says safety is one of the top five issues faced by the industry today, adding that the Internet creates both benefits and concerns for agents, who can now immediately connect with potential buyers.

“Agents show houses at night, on weekends, most of the time people aren’t around the neighborhoods they’re going to,” he added. “This is a step for us to be proactive about our agents safety.”

And that’s where this touch of a button comes in: a small step that could protect you in big ways.

“It’s great peace of mind,” Santee said.

Athena is a creation of the organization ROAR For Good, which donates a portion of the profits to non-profits that raise awareness about domestic violence and aim to teach empathy, especially to young children.

Athena is available in three colors: black, silver, and rose gold. Customers can also donate $79 to purchase a second device for someone in need. For more information, visit

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