D8A: Can a FastFWD company turn cops into data scientists? - Technical.ly Philly

Growth

Jun. 3, 2014 12:30 pm

D8A: Can a FastFWD company turn cops into data scientists?

By analyzing social media feeds, the hope is that police can be pro-active, instead of reactive, when it comes to crime.

Jon Gosier is the CEO of D8A. Photo by Gabriela Barrantes for the Philadelphia Daily News.

D8A wants to help cops use social media data to prevent crime.

The company’s software analyzes Twitter streams and other social media feeds and overlays that data with city crime data to identify patterns. The hope is that police can use that analysis to be pro-active, instead of reactive, when it comes to crime, said CEO Jon Gosier.

It calls to mind the Silicon Valley-based data science company Palantir (and also Azavea‘s crime analysis tool, HunchLab ), but Gosier said the difference is that D8A is for a non-technical person.

Gosier, 32, of Chinatown, used to run Metalayer, a data visualization startup that went through the DreamIt Ventures accelerator. D8A is Metalayer’s new iteration and offers more products than Metalayer did, Gosier said.

D8A is in talks with the Philadelphia Police Department, which is already in the data-driven mindset: the PPD got a new mapping system in the fall of 2012 and has trained cops to analyze crime data. Deputy Commissioner Nola Joyce has said that data is the future of the department.

D8A is one of ten companies that recently completed FastFWD, the social entrepreneurship accelerator backed by a $1 million Bloomberg Philanthropies grant. Each company demoed in May at First Round Capital.

The accelerator, focused on public safety, awarded $10,000 to each company, as well as mentorship, training and an opportunity to pilot their product in Philadelphia. That opportunity came in the form of an RFP [pdf] that was due at 5 p.m. on demo day. The chosen companies will be announced this week, said Story Bellows, a city staffer who helped run FastFWD.

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FastFWD is run by GoodCompany Ventures, the City of Philadelphia and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative.

In the weeks to come, we’ll highlight some of the FastFWD companies. See all our coverage here.

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The business plan: D8A sells its products for $50,000 per year for a team of ten users.

Customers? Yes, though none in law enforcement yet, which is where D8A wants to focus. Some current clients include Florida-based Wounded Warrior Project, which uses D8A to “to analyze veteran communities around the country in real-time so they would know how to better deliver service,” and a disaster response organization in Washington, D.C., that uses D8A to monitor happenings in South Sudan.

Why Gosier is staying in Philly: “It’s been a challenge to serve the domestic market without having a domestic presence.”

Applied to RFP to launch pilot in Philadelphia?: Yes.

Staff: Gosier is joined by Atlanta-based Badiyah Robinson, who runs sales and communications, Kenya-based software developer Ahmed Maawy and U.K.-based Matt Griffiths, a consultant who’s worked with Gosier on many projects, including Metalayer.

“What we are looking for is people who have experience selling to government or law enforcement to join the team as advisors in exchange for equity,” Gosier said.

The (investor) ask: None. D8A is profitable and bootstrapped.

Read more on the Daily News.

Companies: D8A
People: Jon Gosier
Projects: FastFWD
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