911 call centers – also known as public safety answering points (PSAPs) – are one of the most actively used public-safety infrastructure systems in the United States, fielding an estimated 240 million calls per year. That’s more than 650,000 per day. These centers act as the first point of engagement between a citizen and the public safety system, and PSAPs are often the conduit between the citizen and the eventual field responders (e.g., police, fire, emergency medicine) who go on-site to help. To say they serve a life-or-death function would be an understatement.
Despite its importance, though, our 911 system is ill equipped to handle many modern emergencies. When someone calls 911, they often don’t speak the same language as the operator, are in situations where speaking cogently to the operator is fraught, or don’t know the necessary details needed for help to arrive.
This makes it difficult for operators to get the information they need from callers, while still keeping callers safe and making them feel comfortable. Information loss can dramatically degrade incident response and resolution. In addition, over half of PSAPs nationally are experiencing staffing and labor shortages, and the emotional and physical toll of working in these centers has led to meaningful burnout and turnover among the staff.
We’ve already used software to optimize countless tasks across countless industries, and it’s imperative that first-class software also be built to support one of the most important pieces of our public safety infrastructure. In emergency moments seconds matter, and the right data and context can be a critical determinant in the outcome of the call. That’s why we are so proud to invest in Prepared.
The 911 infrastructure was first rolled out in the United States in the 1960s, when most individuals were calling through landlines. With smartphones now virtually ubiquitous, however, 70% of 911 calls are now made with wireless phones. And smartphones have a wealth of data about a situation that 911 operators should have – GPS location, phone/video access, text capabilities, etc. – but historically these operators have not had an easy way to access that data.
Prepared is the advanced data layer for 911. They provide operators with real-time data during emergency situations by providing callers with a web-based link to stream live video, share pictures, text, and GPS location to the 911 operators. It also provides real-time translation in more than 140 languages and AI transcription of calls so that operators can seamlessly communicate with the caller while documenting the most important information. Going further, Prepared then allows the 911 operator to share that data as it is coming in with the field responders (e.g., police, fire, emergency medicine) so that they have the full context and can better protect the caller, as well as themselves. Emergency rooms were transformed when ambulances started carrying radios to call ahead and alert an ER about patient status resulting in countless lives saved; the same will be true here where police and emergency responders can get details and live video about a situation in real-time before they arrive at an incident.
We were blown away by the reach Prepared has been able to achieve in a short period of time. Since their founding in 2019, nearly 15% of all 911 centers leverage Prepared, collectively serving more than 75 million Americans.
The customer feedback we received was also glowing. Prepared has spread rapidly, through word-of-mouth, among neighboring law enforcement regions as operators realize the lifesaving benefits of the product and have encouraged neighboring operations centers to adopt it.
It is exceedingly rare to meet a company that achieves that level of reach in public safety — so quickly and with that level of customer love — and it’s a true testament to the Prepared team. Michael Chime, Dylan Gleicher, and Neal Soni are highly mission-driven and passionate about solving this problem. Michael started Prepared in his dorm room after experiencing a shooting in his hometown and took leave after being awarded the Thiel Fellowship to work on Prepared full-time. We are thrilled to be leading their Series A and supporting them as they build out critical infrastructure for our emergency operators. They’re hiring!