The Israeli start-up aiming to prevent the next Pittsburgh massacre

The Detroit Jewish community has already pre-ordered the finished product and the system will initially be installed in 25 locations.

November 8, 2018 02:08
3 minute read.
Gabriel emergency panic button

Gabriel emergency panic button. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Founded in 2016, Tel Aviv-based start-up Gabriel aims to provide a smart, affordable and easy-to-use solution for mass shootings aimed at so-called soft targets and communal spaces, including in schools, community centers, synagogues and churches.

Gabriel CEO Yoni Sherizen spent 15 years working in the Jewish community before shifting his focus to business. Motivated by the June 2016 mass shooting at Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market and, the murder of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida days later, Sherizen sought to develop a technological platform to change the outcome of similar events.

“In events like that, the casualty rate skyrockets with every passing minute. If you can help people instantly get to safety, alert them of the danger, alert authorities and provide emergency services with real-time information on how to deal with the crisis, you can dramatically change the way these things unfold,” said Sherizen.

The company’s crisis platform integrates three critical components. First, a physical device placed on the wall of the building which serves both as a panic button to alert first responders, police and building occupants, and also as a video and audio communication hub if other communication services fail to alert the authorities.

Second, the Gabriel smartphone application enables users to declare an emergency, alert others and continue to share critical, real-time information from the scene. Smartphones have become key communication and intelligence points for emergency response teams.

Finally, the company has developed an intuitive command and control dashboard that enables real-time crisis management. Available both as a web and smartphone application, the dashboard provides direct video and audio feeds and a dynamic site map.

“We wanted to create something not only easy to use, but also to install. There are military-grade or government-grade platforms on the market but you can’t start a discussion for less than $200,000 for a serious solution.” said Sherizen.

“Our starter kit costs $10,000. Depending on the size and makeup of the community building, it would cost between $20-30,000 to fully outfit the location. We have made it very affordable. This is a game-changer for the lock-down and active shooter drills that are now a standard part of any child’s upbringing in the States. “

Boosted by an advisory board including former Mossad deputy director Ram Ben-Barak, former Israel Police chief Yohanan Danino, former Shin Bet Director of Overseas Missions Kobi Mor and father of Parkland school shooting victim Ryan Petty, Sherizen and his cofounder Asaf Adler will launch their finished product in the coming weeks. A successful pilot program in Detroit, which focused on a school and a local Jewish Community Center already passed initial tests. The Detroit Jewish community has pre-ordered the finished product and the system will initially be installed in 25 locations. Sherizen expects more communities to join, following recent events in Pittsburgh.

“Unfortunately every month there seems to be another high-profile event of this nature. After the Vegas shooting, we were able to show [that] our system would have managed to identify the location of the shooter much quicker,” said Sherizen.
With more than 475,000 soft targets across the US and amid increasing security fears, the potential market for Gabriel is huge. The company could gain revenues of almost $1 billion if only 10% of soft targets were to invest around $20,000 in its alert systems.

“We have had requests from condominiums and interest from corporations due to workplace shootings. There are concerns from robberies gone wrong to workplace violence and active shooter situations. The most sensitive one right now is soft targets.”

According to an American Psychological Association survey published last week, a startling 75% of Americans between the ages of 15 and 21, also known as Generation Z, say mass and school shootings are significant sources of stress, The worrying new figures were released three days after Pittsburgh’s Jewish community was shaken by the murder of 11 Tree of Life Synagogue congregants at a mass shooting during Shabbat morning prayers.

According to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, the synagogue shooting was the 294th mass shooting incident in 2018. The figure has since risen to 307, including Wednesday night’s deadly attack at a Southern California bar.

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