ZeroEyes CEO and Co-Founder Mike Lahiff joins us to share the story behind their Artificial Intelligence technology for detecting weapons. ZeroEyes is the only AI-based gun detection analytics platform with a Department of Homeland Security SAFETY Act designation. They have contracts with schools, military bases and both government and private sector organizations all across the country.
Mike’s transition out of the SEAL teams was not an easy one. While earning his MBA at Wharton Business School, he would talk with other former SEALs enrolled at the college. They shared a frustration with feeling a “loss of mission”. Following a disturbing conversation with his daughter where she described the active shooter drills at her school, Mike and his comrades decided to do something about it.
When it came to initial funding Mike says “we literally burned the boats”. He and his partners liquidated every asset they had, took out second mortgages and maxed out their credit cards to get the company to the point where they could pitch the concept for additional funding.
His team initially scraped the internet for every image of weapons they could find. However, initial testing proved less than effective. They finally resorted to filming themselves carrying weapons in various locations under different conditions. It took two years to develop a working prototype.
Situational awareness is critical in reducing response times in order to save lives. ZeroEyes monitors existing security camera feeds and can identify/evaluate a threat is as little as three seconds. The alert is then reviewed by ZeroEyes Operational Center staff to eliminate false positives. A notification is then immediately sent to the facility and local law enforcement. Staff continues to monitor the feeds and provides real time updates to responders so they know precisely where to find the active shooter.
ZeroEyes now employs 150 persons, 80 percent of whom are Veterans. They also have grant writers on staff that will help potential clients identify funding to install the system.
TAKEAWAY: “Without risk there is no reward. You have to take that leap and just believe in yourself. If you get knocked down, figure out your lessons learned and apply it to your next venture.”