When thinking of public safety technologies, advanced use cases like gunshot detection systems, facial recognition, and AI-based surveillance that are being used to protect the public from imminent danger may come to mind. However, there are a growing number of technologies being used by public safety professionals to improve their internal and external workflows. Mark43 is a software platform for public safety agencies that handles records management, analytics, evidence, and aids with dispatch. With the platform, things like the workflow for things arrest and incident reports are streamlined and centralized. Not only does this trim down the time spent by law enforcement officers sitting behind a desk, but the platform also uses this data to aid communication centers in dispatching real-time information to professionals in the field. Founded in 2012, Mark43 currently services more than 120 public safety agencies globally.
AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Scott Crouch to learn more about how a class project at Harvard led to the formation of the business, how Mark43 is responding to evolving demands of the public safety sector, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding, which comes at a $1B valuation, and much, much more.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Mark43 raised a $101 million Series E funding round led by The Spruce House Partnership and Tiger Global Management. The Radcliff Companies, Australia’s 29th Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and former Lord Mayor of Sydney Lucy Turnbull also participated in this round. They joined Goldman Sachs, General Catalyst, Spark Capital, HighSage Ventures, and Avenir Capital in backing our vision for the future of government technology. Mark 43 has now raised $257M in total funding.
Tell us about the product or service that Mark43 offers.
Our cloud-native software allows first responders to seamlessly collect, manage, analyze, and share information. Mark43 builds the world’s most powerful public safety Computer-Aided Dispatch, Records Management System, analytics, and property and evidence platform while providing industry-leading customer care.
What inspired the start of Mark43?
Mark43 was founded in an undergraduate Harvard engineering class after our founding team began working with the Special Projects Team of the Massachusetts State Police. To date, Mark43 has deployed its software platform to over 120 public safety agencies across the U.S. and internationally, offering a Records Management System for law enforcement reporting, investigative work, evidence tracking, and crime analysis, as well as a Computer-Aided Dispatch for 911 call taking and dispatch. Our user-friendly technology is welcomed by agencies of all sizes—from the Richmond Police Department in California to the New South Wales Police Force in Australia—as a way to reduce report-writing times and allow first responders to spend significantly more time keeping communities safe.
The public safety tech market has been devoid of authenticity, with legacy vendors failing to provide the comprehensive support required for the complex job that is public safety. Mark43’s mission is to empower communities and their governments with new technologies that improve the safety and quality of life for all. We work with public safety agencies each day to promote best practices, clear decision-making, and innovation with the hope that their communities may know decades of trust, compassion, and partnership.
What market does Mark43 target and how big is it?
The addressable public safety technology market was valued at $14.61 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $64.59 billion by 2026.
What’s your business model?
We’re a SaaS company offering our platform via the cloud. Once we implement our technology with a government agency, we consistently work to provide the best service possible through quarterly updates and open forums for customer feedback. Our approach is different from vendors of the past–we’re not a product that’s implemented, then not updated for five years. Our goal is to enable first responders to best do their jobs in order to best serve their communities, so we hold ourselves to the same standards and constantly look for ways to provide top-notch service.
How has COVID-19 impacted the business?
COVID-19 was a difficult time for many organizations, but we were lucky enough not to be impacted from a business standpoint. In fact, we saw a real need from first responders for enhanced technology as they were inundated with COVID-19 response, while also battling for their own agencies to stay healthy amid the pandemic. We’ve seen our sworn user growth rise by 167% in Q1 2021, which we think indicates that investments in tech by public safety agencies is continuing to play a large role in supporting first responders.
What was the funding process like?
We’re fortunate enough to have long-term partnerships with world-class investors who genuinely believe in our vision for the future of public safety technology, which helps to make the funding process as seamless as possible. Each of our investors shares our dream of implementing technology to help improve the wellbeing and quality of life for all on a global scale, and we’re grateful to be able to partner with each of them.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The issues we’re working to resolve at Mark43 are some of the most nuanced challenges in American society, and finding the right partners who want to take on these same challenges is crucial. We’re thrilled by the partnerships we’ve cultivated over the course of the Series E fundraise. Each of our partners understands that raising funds for this technology is more vital than ever, and is what will ultimately allow us to continue to develop the tech and software that makes communities around the world safer.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Each of our investors is equally as motivated when it comes to helping public safety agencies serve their communities. We’ve grown in many ways since we launched in 2012. Today, we’re a leader in the government technology industry, employing over 300 team members around the globe with offices in the U.S., Australia, and Canada, and support more than 120 public safety agencies.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
It’s our goal to dedicate significant resources to amplifying technology’s role in helping public safety be more data-driven and adaptive to today’s challenges. To help achieve this, we’ve welcomed Ganesha Martin as our Vice President of Public Policy and Community Affairs, where her role will focus on uplifting police and citizen voices to create sustainable structural change.
We also hope to continue to grow our international presence after signing a contract with the New South Wales Police Force in Australia this year, and build on that momentum by establishing a new office in the United Kingdom and expanding the Mark43 Toronto office to support our Canadian presence.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Building a successful company is about two things: developing a product or service that customers love, and doing it with limited resources. Doing the former is hard–and it’s easy to sacrifice the latter as an easy, temporary fix. Keep your focus on making customers happy without spending outside of your means. When you establish a raving fanbase, everything else will fall into place.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Most immediately, as the platform of choice for major U.S. cities like Washington D.C, San Antonio, and Seattle, we’re looking to allocate this funding towards developing new products that support community well-being and foster dialogue between public safety agencies and their communities. Technology has been consistently funded, and investing in modern technology is the right move for these agencies. With this latest funding round, we’ll be able to grow our tech alongside the ever-changing landscape of public safety to help craft its future.
What’s your favorite outdoor dining restaurant in NYC
Le District in Battery Park.