My90 launched in response to crises between communities and police. Five years later, we are joining Axon to scale our work. Read our personal story of founding My90 and why we believe in Axon’s potential to shape the future of public safety.
Mustafa: My first memory of police is being falsely accused of shoplifting with my mother at a mall. The officer searched us in front of other shoppers. When people started to gather and look, he shuttled us through an emergency exit. I was four.
My second memory of police is when my father led large community marches in front of drug houses where frequent gun violence occurred. There were threats against his life, so officers would close off the streets and protect the crowd. They would watch my father’s back. I was seven.
Every interaction is an opportunity. It’s also a risk. How do we create more opportunities? How do we reduce risk? How do we protect life?
Kona: Mustafa and I started building My90 in 2014, when Michael Brown was killed. Mustafa grew up near Ferguson. For him, Michael Brown’s death was familiar and tragic. America’s longstanding fractures were exposed.
The deaths of Sandra Bland and Philando Castile followed. With tragedy came an opening. The conversations between public safety leaders and community members began to shift. There was an opportunity to make procedural and legal changes in policing.
We decided to name the company “My90” when a sergeant told us that “we miss 90% of the story when the public and the police interact.” Then we heard the exact same thing from community leaders and organizers. We began to ask, how could we improve policing for everyone if we could uncover that missing 90%? When we announced My90’s launch, I wrote:
Most people never give feedback about our local police. The barriers are serious. Many departments offer just one option: filing official commendations or complaints in person during business hours. Community members often fear police retribution if they complain. And just speaking up isn’t enough. As one community member put it, “I have lots to say about the police — but I want to know my voice is heard, too. I want to know that it all means something.”
Then five police officers in Dallas were killed and nine others were injured. Another tragedy. People stopped listening. This time, a closing.
Mustafa: Protecting life is not only an action taken during a moment of potential violence. It’s what you do before the moment. It’s what you do after the moment.
It’s what you do to make sure the moment never occurs.
We built My90 to understand the tens of millions of interactions between the public and police. If we want to build a comprehensive public safety system, we must understand these interactions. The perceptions can be as important as what happened. We want to know, “Were certain procedures followed? Did you need a sworn officer to help solve this problem?”
Kona: We founded My90 as an independent platform that facilitates conversations between communities and police departments. My90’s goal is to change how we communicate. We collect anonymous feedback via online surveys, analyze data to inform policing, and increase the flow of public information.
My90 has to serve both community members and police officers in order to succeed. We must be a trustworthy platform for community members to confide in us. Police departments must find value in the results. After years of research, testing, and learning, we have reached a point where we are ready to scale this work.
Us: We are excited to announce that My90 is joining Axon. This acquisition is an opportunity to grow My90 into an international, data-driven solution that improves police performance using community feedback about traffic stops, service calls and more.
We initially began working with Axon’s Community Impact Team last year. During that time, we have seen a surge in demand for My90 from public safety agencies around the country amidst intensified demands from community members for change. We are joining Axon because we want to be part of that change in the biggest way possible, which we think will happen in three ways:
- Communities and public safety agencies are demanding we bring our solutions to their cities fast. Axon’s network of customers and partners is one of the largest in the world. The depth of expertise across Axon’s product, sales, and community impact teams is unparalleled. Joining Axon allows us to accelerate our impact.
- Axon offers unique advantages because it has traditionally been a hardware company that develops tasers and body worn cameras. As a result, it is one of the only companies in the world where My90 can combine community feedback, officer feedback and device data to determine best practices about issues such as use of force, de-escalation, and trust and legitimacy. This allows My90 to transform from a public sentiment gauge to a comprehensive public safety performance tool.
- Within Axon’s existing product ecosystem, there are opportunities to streamline the feedback process so that officers and community members find it easier to share insights and benefit from new data. The more we evolve beyond surveys, the better we can pinpoint opportunities to solve challenges in our cities.
We are more motivated than ever to make a meaningful impact. Last year, the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Elijah McClain brought us to a new tipping point, one even more momentous than what we saw in 2016. We believe that improving performance will benefit everyone.
This will be true even as policing continues to evolve. Cities that civilianize certain police duties (like non-violent 911 calls) will need this type of performance data in order to evaluate staffing, develop strategies, and respond to community needs.
We have our own family now, and we hope that My90 will help make the world safer and fairer for our children. We will continue to uncover the “90% of the story” that’s lost when police and community interact, because what we can understand, we can make better.
We would like to sincerely thank all of the police departments, city agencies, community partners, investors, advisors and supporters who have helped My90 reach this point.