Pulse of a Techstar: Spidr, Data-Driven Policing



In this post we are talking to Rahul Sidhu, co-founder and CEO of SPIDR, Techstars ’15 company from Los Angeles.

1. What is SPIDR in 140 characters?

We transform law enforcement agencies into data-driven police organizations.

2. Why did you start the company?

I was formerly a police officer who lived through the frustrations of using outdated technology at work. I saw a plethora of opportunities to use existing (and potential) datasets to solve a lot of core issues in law enforcement involving community policing, proactive patrol and officer safety.

3. What does your product do?

Our product integrates with a law enforcement agency’s current records, dispatch and GPS systems to leverage data that doesn’t get used. We use that data for to solve a variety of struggles within law enforcement. Our community policing feature allows departments to automatically compile and send out progress reports to everyone that calls for police service. So if Ethyl Smith calls to ask the police department to drive by her house more frequently because people keep vandalizing her property, then our platform automatically sends her a report in 7 days that tells her how many police officers read and acknowledged her request, how many times a police vehicle drove by her location, how many relevant incidents occurred near her area, how many relevant arrests were made and more.

Additionally, our patrol effectiveness feature quantifies proactive patrol metrics like how many times a particular officer interacted with a member of a specific gang, how many times they wrote a citation at an intersection where a child was hit by a car, how many times they drove through a problem area, etc. This was designed to move departments away from judging officer productivity based on reactive metrics such as how many citations were written or how many arrests were made.

4. Why should people care about community-driven policing?

Community policing means that departments are partnering with their communities to solve issues. This require departments to foster trust and provide accountability for what they do on a daily basis. Without this partnership, police departments are significantly less effective and communities are disconnected.

5. Who do you sell to in each police department?

Each department is different, but our customers are the command level officers, Captain and above, usually within each department.

6. How many police departments do you have working with you

We have 4 pilot agencies who will begin using our platform in the next couple months, with dozens more in the pipeline for our waitlist.

7. What is your long-term vision for the company?

Once a department begins using our platform, they have access to data that completely evolves their ability to do police work. Data-driven policing is the future, and we expect our customers to keep asking us to build newer ways to gather and use their data. Any time anyone tries to sell something to law enforcement, we want the words, “Let’s integrate this with SPIDR” to come out of their mouth.

8. What is your advice to your fellow founders?

Focus on an industry you know. Fall in love with a problem, not a solution. Surround yourselves with people that are better than you. Identify your weaknesses and focus on turning them into strengths.



Reprinted by permission.

About the author: Alex Iskold

Alex Iskold is the Managing Director of Techstars in New York City.

Previously Alex was Founder/CEO of GetGlue (acquired by i.tv),  founder/CEO of Information Laboratory (acquired by IBM), and Chief Architect DataSynapse (acquired by TIBCO).

Alex routinely writes about entrepreneurship and startups at Alex Iskold.

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