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Meet the Philly-area Navy SEAL behind the AI weapons-detection system used by schools and malls across the nation

Founded in 2018 to help prevent mass shootings, ZeroEyes has seen widespread adoption of its security cam tech.

Mike Lahiff, former Navy SEAL and CEO and cofounder of ZeroEyes (Courtesy ZeroEyes)
This is a guest post by Founding Philly host Zach Brand. A version of it originally appeared in the podcast's newsletter. It appears here as part of a media partnership between Technical.ly and Founding Philly.

A Conshohocken-based AI firearm-detection software company is growing fast, and now has partnerships with law enforcement agencies, security firms, and educational institutions nationwide.

Called ZeroEyes, it was founded in 2018 by a group of former Navy SEALs and military veterans with a mission to prevent mass shootings and enhance public safety. They sought to overcome the limitations of current security systems, which largely depend on human monitoring and reactive measures, by developing a proactive, AI-driven approach. 

CEO and cofounder Mike Lahiff joined me on the latest episode of Founding Philly, along with Joe Biancaniello from the J.P. Morgan Innovation Economy Banking team.

Three years ago, the company secured a $20 million Series A funding round led by Octave Ventures and in 2023, raised another $23 million to fuel growth and meet demand. There are now also ZeroEyes offices in Alexandria, VA, and Hawaii.

What’s special about the tech? 

It integrates with existing security camera systems, and uses artificial intelligence to analyze video feeds in real time, identifying firearms as soon as they appear — within 3 to 5 seconds. After that, a human monitor in a ZeroEyes Operations Center alerts facility administrators, local authorities or on-site security personnel.

Lahiff likened the tech to fire or carbon monoxide warning systems. “We’re going to be the fire alarm of the future,” he told the Philadelphia Citizen last year.

ZeroEyes currently serves as the trusted weapons detection provider for numerous clients, including the US Department of Defense, several public K-12 school districts, commercial property groups, Fortune 1000 corporate campuses, supply chain and distribution facilities, shopping malls, and big box retail. 

The software was installed locally on 300 SEPTA cameras in 2022 as part of a pilot program, thanks to a $4.9 million state grant.

Tune in to the podcast to hear Mike recount his transition from Navy SEAL to tech entrepreneur and discuss how the company’s technology is working to increase security and public safety standards.

Companies: ZeroEyes
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