Deals

Crime-fighting nerds raise $1.95M to bring law enforcement into modern era

“Fuck the paperwork. Collect bodies, split heads,”  Detective Hauk, The Wire.  

Mark43 has raised $1.95 million in seed funding for its software that helps police officers spend less time doing paper work and more time in the field. The startup emerged out of the Harvard innovation lab, and it seeks to modernize law enforcement by providing a management system that makes police work more organized and efficient.

A lot of police work is paper work. Law enforcement officers have to collect and keep track of large amounts of information and create reports to share with coworkers, superiors, and other teams. Traditionally, this is an offline process. Mark43 (formerly known as Nucleik) puts it online and integrates various elements of police work into one system that cuts down on the time it takes to accomplish administrative tasks.

Mark43 provides a mobile data entry system to gather information in the field using smartphones or tablets and automatically have it synced and stored. The report generation feature can quickly create custom reports, helping law enforcement share findings, criminal profiles, and activity updates with other members of their team. All the information is trackable over time to watch how cases, subjects, and crime rates develop and to identify trends. Agencies can pinpoint dangerous crime hotspots and identify stabilized areas so they know how to allocate resources most effectively. The technology also uses data analysis to find connections, “expose previously hidden information,” and generate potential leads.

Outdated practices and technology are preventing law enforcement from being as effective as they could be. While my main exposure to the world of law enforcement is through watching The Wire (and that one incident during a high school house party), I still want to know that the organizations charged with protecting me are running smoothly. A police force that operates with high levels of awareness and efficiency is an important part of keeping people safe and crime down.

Professor Brian Forst is an expert on law enforcement and said in a report that gains in knowledge about what works in policing have not kept pace with gains in information technology. This is the problem Mark43 is trying to solve. The startup was founded by three Harvard graduates who won the grand prize in the Harvard University President’s Challenge on entrepreneurship. The three founders — Scott Crouch, Florian Mayr and Matthew Polega — were in an engineering design seminar and tasked to assess the success of a new policing model implemented by a team of state troopers. They saw how the existing software was wasting massive amounts of time and began designing a better solution.

The trio went through military training in network analysis, targeting, and intelligence analysis and spent time with cops out in the field. Over the past year, the Massachusetts State Police Special Projects Team has used the software, and it apparently reported a 90 percent increase in information efficiency. It is currently working with departments in Massachusetts and Los Angeles County, and this financing will support Mark43 as it rolls out the system to more agencies nationwide.

Spark Capital, General Catalyst, Lowercase Capital, SV Angel, Launchpad LA, Rough Draft Ventures, and others participated in this round. Mark43 is based in Boston.