The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword & This Bookcase Is Mightier Than A Bullet

Jake Ahle (left) and Tom Ankenbauer in entrance of the Baker Library at Harvard Enterprise Faculty. Courtesy photograph

Mass shootings keep on to be a major difficulty in the United States. Even with remaining a tragedy pretty substantially isolated to the U.S., handful of policymakers or law enforcement businesses have been in a position to appear up with any meaningful methods. Two current MBAs are investing their time in company university launching a startup that is hoping to do just that.

Jake Ahle, who will be commencing his next 12 months at Harvard Business enterprise College this drop, and Tom Ankenbauer, who is setting up his next 12 months at MIT’s Sloan Faculty of Management, have released a enterprise known as Protected, which sells bullet-resistant bookcases for school rooms and workplace spaces.

“The bookcase does everything that it must do in that it’s a functional piece of furnishings,” Ahle tells Poets&Quants on a telephone phone. “It does not glimpse like anything aside from a bookcase, so you are not sacrificing psychological safety. Most importantly, it can be promptly utilized due to the fact it can be in each university or office environment constructing and it quickly locks down a doorway. It turns into an active answer to halting an assailant from accessing people today indoors.”

AN EARLY Job IN THE Military services

He’s suitable. The bookcases do glimpse like normal bookcases. But they also have a developed-in sheet of bullet-resistant fiberglass and can be moved simply throughout a place to lock in place in entrance of a door. Ahle states at minimum two important furnishings producers have signed on and inspite of being only a small additional than a calendar year into the business, Protected is now creating enough revenue to deal with all charges.

The thought arrived to Ahle and Ankenbauer in a bit of a serendipitous way — although actively serving overseas for the U.S. navy. Ahle grew up outside of Philadelphia in New Jersey with a one mother and more mature sister. Majoring in economics at the Pennsylvania State College, Ahle joined the school’s ROTC system to pay out for school.

“When I initially joined the Military via the ROTC as an undergraduate it was extra out of a necessity to pay out for college than it was from some deep patriotic enthusiasm I had,” Ahle points out. “It was by no means a thing I noticed myself undertaking as a long-term vocation.”

But Ahle ended up loving and developing a passion for the armed service and functioning with soldiers. So right after higher education, Ahle graduated from airborne and U.S. Military Ranger school and grew to become an Army Infantry Officer, and was deployed to Northeast Italy as a platoon chief. Right after people a few several years, Ahle done coaching to be component of a specialised device identified as the Asymmetric Warfare Team.

Ahle and Ankenbauer in 2016 right after a ceremony on Caserma Ederle (a U.S. Army Base situated in Vicenza, Italy). Courtesy picture


As Ahle state-of-the-art in his military services profession, he obtained further more and additional away from what he loved about the armed service, which was functioning with soldiers. His passion for economics and company persisted. And Ahle knew he’d developed management and administration chops as an Army officer. “It was a incredibly normal transition, as several other officers prior to me have accomplished, to go to business enterprise college,” Ahle recollects. “It appeared like it was the finest degree or working experience I could have that would pair with my management instruction from the Military to really do something good.”

In addition, Ahle suggests, he was fatigued of a different part of the military services that he believed business enterprise college could help resolve.

“After years of not just listening to a manager, but essentially getting orders, it was a little something I in no way required to do yet again,” Ahle says. “So I definitely preferred to grow to be an entrepreneur. But I didn’t know what the hell that meant and business enterprise college seemed like the greatest position to determine it out.”

So Ahle used to the main Mid-Atlantic and East Coastline M7 MBA plans even though deployed in the Middle East, which he suggests was “definitely a exclusive knowledge.” In unique, Ahle experienced some uncouth tests problems in contrast to his fellow Us citizens making use of to prime-shelf business enterprise universities, having the GMAT “in a classroom with a laptop or computer from 2004 with out air conditioning.”


All the when, Ahle was scheming to do this with his prolonged-phrase army buddy, Ankenbauer. They each utilized to the exact organization faculties in hopes of both of those landing at the identical a person, or at the very least two close with each other. “That was so we could discover distinctive things and leverage individuals items into beginning a firm that is going to have an effect,” Ahle elaborates. Ahle was acknowledged to Harvard Business enterprise Faculty and Ankenbauer into MIT’s Sloan College to get started in the drop of 2019.

But they both had an possibility to deploy on a person remaining cycle with the Uneven Warfare Group, which they did and deferred their admission to 2020. On a person hand, that finished up being a bit of a bummer as they primarily deferred into the “COVID year” of enterprise university. But on the other hand, the serendipitous instant happened by meeting Pete Facchini, one more Army vet.

Facchini was deployed in the Center East when he uncovered about the Virginia Tech mass taking pictures in 2007. The shooting took position in a number of structures and about the span of hours as 32 folks were being murdered and dozens a lot more were injured from photographs fired or jumping out of home windows to escape. Facchini acquired a lot of of the victims were being trapped in dorm rooms or lecture rooms with no way to properly barricade on their own. 5 a long time later, the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary University shooting, which ended in the murder of 20 elementary college youngsters and six grownup team associates, hit Facchini very personally as the spouse of an elementary school trainer and father of 3 small children.

Applying Armed service Competencies AND Schooling TO A Prospective Option

All the even though, Facchini realized he could build a product to resolve a aspect of the trouble. He was an pro Distinctive Functions breacher. Like quite a few other military services personnel, Facchini knew how to break into buildings and rooms. And he also knew how to continue to keep folks experienced like himself from entering into buildings and rooms. And then in late 2019, he fulfilled two youthful officers getting all set to commence their MBA programs at two of the finest small business faculties in the entire world.

“We are the folks in the U.S. who are trained much like a SWAT staff is skilled or selected components of a law enforcement office,” Ahle states. “We essentially acquire teaching on how to carry out these forms of operations with rifles and various types of guns — this really dangerous stuff that the common person doesn’t get experienced on and genuinely does not have an understanding of. We have a unique knowledge and consciousness of every time there is just one of these mass shootings or active shooter predicaments the place folks get trapped indoors, we fully grasp the point of view on how it happens and how there have been casualties.”

As a person who had also witnessed folks having caught in rooms in the Middle East and escalating up in a time of mass shootings — quite a few of which involved schools — dating back again to the Columbine Significant Faculty capturing in 1999, each Ahle and Ankenbauer ended up incredibly interested in pursuing Facchini’s plan of placing bullet-resistant limitations into lecture rooms and offices.

“These shootings are taking place but there have not been any real methods,” Ahle says. “And we have been stunned since if one thing goes wrong on an airplane, let us say, all the things is stopped until a resolution is created and then implemented so that it in no way transpires yet again. And we had been like, how the hell are we nevertheless in a position where somebody can walk into a college, or an office, or newspaper, or whatever it is and continue to get absent with this? Overlook the reality that there are also quite a few guns in the United States. That is its individual dilemma. But until finally you fix that, why is there not some style of defense to shield people today?”

Enter the Secured bullet-resistant bookcase.


Tim Cahalin (remaining), Ahle (heart), and Pete Facchini (proper) soon after testing the to start with prototype in a high university in New Jersey, July 2020. Courtesy photograph

The crew imagined of every little thing they have been educated to do to crack into a house and then arrived up with a alternative to halt it. When they had the principle and products, they commenced testing it. “We’ve had a couple exciting evenings,” Ahle laughs. The staff took it to co-founder and Main of Products, Tim Cahalin’s significant plot of land in the woods in central New Jersey to carry out ballistic tests. They’ve also had military and SWAT models test it through instruction occasions.

“They could not get into the place that was blocked by our bookcase right up until they utilized explosives,” Ahle states. “Only just after explosives were they capable to get in. Of class, our product or service is not rated to endure rocket-propelled grenades.”

The summer prior to Ahle and Ankenbauer entered B-college, they took the solution to a school district for the first time to see how it would glance and operate in a classroom placing. The superintendent of the university district took place to be in the building on the identical day and asked what they have been performing. The crew told him. “On the location, he stated, ‘this is anything I’ve been telling my safety office environment I’ve wished. I want it. I want ten,’” Ahle states.

This previous February, the initially idea was at last completely ready to offer, which it did — to the similar superintendent and school district. Other faculty districts in the location uncovered about the item and attained out as perfectly. Then Colorado State University’s stability business reached out about wanting some. “After one sell, we’ve experienced all of this demand coming in,” Ahle says.

Solid EARLY Progress

Launching this firm although in small business university has been clutch for Ahle and Ankenbauer. “One of the coolest factors is right away making use of what your understanding in course and making use of it to what you are doing at night time, which for us was setting up this small business,” Ahle says.

Other than classes like very first-year accounting and the Entrepreneurial Manager, Ahle states entry to business people in home at MIT and HBS have been useful as well as weekly calls with the MIT Entrepreneurial Community. Ahle and Ankenbauer have also tapped into pupils at Harvard and Boston College Legislation Universities to cope with all contracts and other legalities they’ve desired to perform through.

Ahle states the trajectory of the firm will permit both equally him and Ankenbauer to comfortably operate full-time at ProctedEd immediately after graduation, which is particularly what the two established out to do when they made a decision to go to business school in the initially place.

“All of that stuff about needing to carry out more psychological and mental wellbeing services or implementing additional cameras, all of that things is true,” Ahle says. “And all of that things really should be implemented in flip. But all of that stuff isn’t halting people today right now. Psychologists can’t protect against anyone from going for walks into a school or office environment. And when the assault begins, anything has to be there to guard individuals.”

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