We’ve all seen futuristic sci-fi movies that depict sophisticated law enforcement operations, the ones where commanders pull up 3D holographic layouts of a building’s interior while outlining the team’s strategic plan.
While current methods are nowhere near that level of advancement, you might not realize just how big the gap is.
Michael O’Leary says that in his discussions with police, paramedics and firefighters across the country, he has been told that Google Maps often provides better location logistics than the antiquated systems used by departments.
In the information age, emergency services are lagging behind, and O’Leary sees that as a major problem.
His company, Intervotion, is in the business of addressing this with a product called TotalView. At a high level, it’s a database of detailed infrastructure maps with essential information that first responders can access and navigate on the fly.
“It’s not a terribly complex product, but it solves a real problem, and a real pain, ” O’Leary says.
The start-up spawned in San Francisco before moving to Minneapolis, where its founder and sole owner has elected to plant roots. O’Leary parted ways with his previous partners, citing fundamental differences in vision, and is actively seeking new candidates to jump aboard.
The company is starting its push in Minnesota with five paying customers on the ledger, all from the Bay Area, earning Intervotion $100k+ in revenue last year. The sales team is now reaching out to more police and fire departments locally and across the country.
The utility of Intervotion’s tool is easy to see, but O’Leary is candid when pointing out the barriers in communicating its true value.
For one thing, the information TotalView provides – comprehensive schematics and visual representations of buildings or underground infrastructures, viewable from any device via the Web – is more useful in drawn out scenarios than typical day-to-day calls. A cop isn’t going to spend much time consulting any maps before rushing onto the scene for an urgent 911 response, for instance.
“When you’re setting up a command post, and multiple agencies are responding, that’s when this information can become even more useful,” O’Leary explains.
But this broaches the second challenge. O’Leary wants to orient his marketing around giving actionable information to those who risk their own lives to protect the lives of others. While the reality is that disastrous incidents are precisely where this product demonstrates its highest value or potential to save human lives, he understandably doesn’t want to focus Intervotion’s marketing on fear of worst case scenarios.
No one wants to think about another school shooting, a hostage scenario, or a terrorist attack on a train station. Yet professionals are tasked with preparing for them, and taking their best action when they do transpire.
O’Leary believes looking out for those emergency personnel is paramount, and this fuels his entrepreneurial resolve. The specifications of his product are dictated by conversations with professionals in the field.
“I’m talking to somebody whose job is to go toward the fire or go toward the danger, and figuring out how to make their position favorable using TotalView.”
O’Leary’s reverence for those who serve and protect extends to the Intervotion business model, with the company placing an emphasis on hiring military veterans to liaison with clients in the public space.
He downplays his own brief military career, but points out that skills and knowledge inherent to that background align well with the nuts and bolts of civic emergency planning.
Given that experience and traction, Intervotion has recently been invited to participate in a 14-week course with Bunker Labs Minneapolis, which shines a spotlight on entrepreneurial veterans and their early-stage companies.