The Yale Start-Up Battling School Shootings
Mike Chime is no stranger to the school shooting epidemic in America that is currently sweeping the nation. On February 27th, 2012, three people died and three others were injured in a school shooting at Chardon High School, located just a few miles away from Chime’s childhood home. Later down the road, Chime’s 9-year-old brother went through a school lockdown leaving him confused and nervous to go back to school. These two personal experiences along with the increasingly common occurrence of school shootings deeply disturbed Chime making him determined to make a difference. “I began to ask myself three fundamental questions, What is happening in school shootings?, Why are there so many fatalities?, and What can I do to solve this?” said Chime. He began to research every aspect of the issue and found that a major problem was schools atrocious emergency communication protocol. Schools typically announced lockdowns via outdated PA systems that alert not only the students but also the shooter. Along with an outdated alert system, schools alerts take multiple crucial life-saving minutes to issue. In the Parkland school shooting, it took the school three and a half minutes to issue a lockdown while the shooting lasted only six minutes. Chime began to realize that a better alert system was essential to tackling the epidemic of school shootings. In late 2018, he began to discuss with Dylan Gleicher, his suitemate who had made mobile apps since he was 12, about designing a mobile alert app called Prepared. As they began to develop the app they added Neal Soni, a coder, and Daniel James to help market the product. Once they had an MVP, market viable product, they began to send screenshots of the app to schools across the nation to vett their product and to receive feedback from schools about their interface. They received loads of positive feedback from schools who realized the potential life-saving technology they were developing. Recently, Prepared was named the top tech startup at Yale after winning the $25,000 Miller Prize at a pitch competition in 2019 and has also raised $15,000 through a TSAI City summer accelerator. While Prepared is currently active in 22 high schools across the United States, the team is far from done. Prepared is currently going through another round of funding even though they are currently profitable, “This is an issue that can’t wait, The risk of a shooting is faced by school districts each day and we have a solution that can help people across the country” says Chime. For future updates, visit Preparedapp.com.