Full-time solution for network downtime

Natural disasters can affect the government and corporate company's ability to stay connected and to communicate. Today’s featured startup from New York City, Mercury Continuity, is changing the way these businesses and agencies maintain network connectivity. Every year U.S. businesses lose around $25 billion from avoidable network downtime and Mercury Continuity has a solution.

Mercury Continuity monitors for potential network disruptions allowing, when possible, immediate rerouting of data through multiple different paths. They work with dozens of technology partners for cost effective solutions so their clients can have ongoing communications and reduce the risk of an IT disruption. 

Learn more about how Mercury Continuity could help your business during the next natural disaster from Jeremy Keyes, COO & Co-Fouder.

What inspired you to start your company?

Even before the devastating earthquake and tsunami impacted the shores of Japan last year and sent the world’s third largest economy into ‘freefall’, the founders of Mercury Continuity have been committed to improving interoperability and connectivity for public safety communications and emergency responders. For Adam Jaffe, Chief Executive Officer, and Jeremy Keyes, Chief Operating Officer of Mercury Continuity Partners, the Japanese tsunami was a call to action.

We felt we were witnessing a trend, whereby catastrophic natural disasters have caused disruptions worldwide -- with seemingly increased and alarming frequency -- and many people’s lives have been, and continue to be, imperiled by inadequate communications continuity. On September 11, 2001, amidst the worst disaster in our nation's history, massive communications failure tragically resulted in further loss of life to both civilians and emergency responders. Today, public safety communications infrastructure -- in fact all terrestrial-based broadband networks -- remain susceptible to the same pitfalls that contributed to the chaos endured by WTC and Pentagon first responders, government officials and thousands of American citizens, over a decade ago. 

Despite what we viewed as an issue of the utmost criticality, we realized that the problem remained largely unresolved, and so we undertook efforts to address the need for a higher standard of communications continuity. We recognized from the onset that the mandate to continuously maintain a high level of connectivity was not just limited to emergency service workers and government agencies. Corporate enterprises need to stay online to help minimize societal losses as well.

Tell us something unique about you and your co-founder?

Many business partners get to know each other fairly well over the course of their start-up’s development; for Adam and Jeremy, co-founders of Mercury Continuity, their story is somewhat different. 

We’ve known each other since we were eleven years old. While sometimes we still argue as if we were that age, the truth is we are best friends and have been for over fifteen years now, which is pretty unbelievable to consider. Even though we went to separate colleges (Adam studied political science at Yale and Jeremy was an economics major at Dartmouth), we’ve obviously remained close throughout the years. When we founded Mercury Continuity Partners, we realized that our diverse professional backgrounds were, in fact, a major benefit. We believe that our ‘outside-the-box’ approach – and, of course, the guidance and thoughtful input of many extremely talented engineers and technology advisors – is what enabled us to come up with a pretty innovative solution.

Tell us about your product or service

We established Mercury Continuity to provide government and corporate clients with innovative solutions intended to raise the standard for network and communications resiliency. Our model ensures that municipalities and public safety agencies can maintain network connectivity and therefore business continuity during a catastrophe or other IT disruption. We can accomplish this by leveraging our numerous technology partners, whose proven expertise and extensive infrastructure enable us to deploy and support multiple broadband transport technologies including satellite, microwave and millimeter wave, fiber- and free space optics and other high-yield wireless platforms. 

By leveraging cutting edge, completely-scalable hardware along with our proprietary technology, Mercury Continuity is able to create independent fully-scalable communications infrastructure in any environment. Further, we provide value surpassing industrial or regulatory compliance, to ensure that directors, executives and key decision-makers can both access and assess mission critical data and applications in real-time.

What problem does your product or service solve?

By relying solely on land-based redundancies, organizations that require high levels of network resiliency -- financial firms, government and defense agencies, as well as municipal law enforcement and public safety organizations, energy authorities, utilities and others -- expose themselves to significant risk of preventable IT disruption. 

Extensive research indicates that every year, U.S. businesses alone lose billions of dollars and millions of man-hours from avoidable network downtime. This does not necessarily take into account aberrant events such as the storm we experienced here in Washington, D.C. last weekend (June 29 – July 1), where violent and unpredictable weather created widespread telecom and utilities outages and caused major service disruptions, from which thousands of customers in the Washington Metropolitan Area remained disconnected for nearly a week. 

By combining the top-down analytical approach of an IT consultancy along with a vast arsenal of proven telecommunications technologies from across the private- and defense sectors, Mercury Continuity Partners’ provides a comprehensive and scalable solution for enterprise resiliency that achieves true communications redundancy.

What are your startup's three biggest challenges to growth?

1. Despite ample evidence to the contrary, many executives continue to operate as if their existing business continuity and/or disaster recovery measures were sufficient. 
2. The reticence of public and private organizations to implement newer, more dynamic platforms over existing technologies.
3. Continuing to grow our business at a rapid pace while still being able to give each one of our clients, advisors and technology partners the level of attention and thoroughness they deserve, as well as to continue our own education of communication systems.

How has the Startup America Partnership helped you overcome these challenges to growth?

We set out to [try to] improve the state of communications redundancy and network resiliency in areas where we saw – and which recent events have highlighted – critical vulnerabilities that imperiled people’s lives and well-being. This was not a small undertaking. With the enhanced resources the Startup America Partnership has given us, we will continue to develop our technology and provide what we believe to be an essential service to the public and private sectors.

What Startup America Member Benefits have you used?

The greatest benefit so far has been winning the Acceleprise Enterprise Entrepreneurship Challenge, a competition done in partnership with Startup America. This has provided us the opportunity to channel our relatively limited resources most effectively, enabling us to utilize our capital for business development and revenue generation rather than for sunk costs. As a result, we can continue to set the direction of our company while working in an environment that fosters the type of creative process and thinking which have led us to this point.

Why should startups join Startup America?

One thing we have learned is that access to successful entrepreneurs -- people who have been in our shoes before -- is vital. Regardless of what sector in which you are working, every entrepreneur at any stage should have some type of mentor. The knowledge that there are extremely influential individuals out there who want to see you succeed is an incredible motivation. Having access to competitions such as the Acceleprise Enterprise Entrepreneurship Challenge can also be beneficial.

What is the startup culture like in your City/State?

We hail from Manhattan. Living for years at the epicenter of the global economy -- where unbridled competition defines practically every industry – has taught us that to succeed as an entrepreneur requires a tremendous amount of passion, dedication and perseverance.”

We always find it interesting to work with individuals from established organizations because we can see how excited they are just to hear about our experience as a startup. We hope that our venture continues to generate the same enthusiasm and genuine interest which have propelled us this far. We are extremely grateful to our advisors and friends, and would like to express our sincerest thanks for all your support.

Learn more and connect with Mercury Continuity here:

 @mercury_cp | facebook.com/MercuryContinuity


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