When a mass shooting occurs — whether at a bowling alley and bar like in Lewiston, Maine, or a school like Parkland — local first responders can be overwhelmed with information.
Calls surge into 911. Witnesses post videos and photos. Texts fly back and forth.
But none of it is organized. And not all of it is available to the emergency staff, who need it most.
In 2018, Staples High School graduates and Yale University Dylan Gleicher (Class of 2017) and Neal Soni (’18) — longtime friends, for whom Sandy Hook was all too near and recent — created an app to help. They enlisted another Yale friend, Michael Chime.
Prepared allowed school employees to seamlessly share information with each other during shootings and other crises.
The platform launched in 2019, with clients like the New Haven and Passaic (New Jersey) Public Schools.
It was a great, important concept. (It was also not Dylan’s first app. Earlier, he designed Westport’s Positive Youth Development’s’ first website, gratis. He was in 4th grade at the time.)
Dylan and Neal soon realized their app could be used by more than the people inside a school. They expanded Prepared Live, to focus on 911 centers, police and fire departments, and sheriff’s offices.
Data sharing had been an issue for them. Most rely on landline communication, though up to 80% of emergency calls come from cell phones.
Users pay on a sliding scale, based on variables like the number of dispatchers and call volume.
When someone calls 911 in a community that uses Prepared, they get a text that enables them to share or stream additional information, like videos, photos and voice messages.
According to Forbes, Prepared is now used by call centers that cover more than 20% of the US population.
First responders are not the only ones who want to be “Prepared.” On Wednesday, Dylan and Neal’s company closed a $16 million Series A funding round. It was led by Andreessen Horowitz, along with M13 and Google’s Gradient.
Now Prepared is even more prepared for the future.
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