RapidSOS collects $16M to deliver stronger data to emergency response teams

By Dave Muoio
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RapidSOS, a five-year-old startup focused on updating emergency response systems with data-driven technology, has raised $16 million in funding from Highland Capital, Microsoft Ventures, and CSAA Insurance Group, according to a statement. Forté Ventures also contributed.

This brings the company’s total funding to more than $30 million, following a $14 million round concluded just last year that included contributions from three former FCC chairmen.

"It's been a privilege working with the public safety community to develop this technology and see the impact it can have on emergency outcomes," Michael Martin, CEO of RapidSOS, said in a statement. "911 telecommunicators manage over 200 million emergencies a year with little more than a voice connection. This funding will allow us to send life-saving data directly into the hands of first responders nationwide."

RapidSOS’ platform takes various devices and data sources — including health information from wearables, telematics from connected cars, smoke density from smart homes, location tracking from mobile devices — and links these directly to 911 responders during an emergency. The goal, according to the company, is to quickly provide these responders with information unique to a specific emergency, leading to faster responses and better outcomes.

"Internet of Things devices have created enormous potential for keeping people safer and better connected to first responders in emergencies. The challenge is communicating valuable data between connected devices and antiquated 911 public infrastructure," Dave Nagel, a Forté Ventures partner and RapidSOS advisory board member who previously served as CTO of AT&T and SVP at Apple, said in a statement. "RapidSOS provides that direct connection between IoT devices and 9-1-1, making people around the world safer through modern technology.”

Since RapidSOS’ last funding round, the company has struck a number of partnerships with communications, rapid response groups, and device makers. These include Waze, Motorola, Airbus DS Communications, Adashi Systems, Tantalum, InterResolve, Competitive Carriers Association, WiseWear, Kairos, and others.

RapidSOS' technology was originally developed by CEO Michael Martin, CTO Nick Horelik and a team of engineers out of MIT and Harvard. In 2014, the fledgling company won the audience choice award at the MIT $100K entrepreneurship competition for its budding technology.

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