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Propelify Semi-Finalist: Meet RapidSOS, Technology Transforming Emergency Response

Who will win the SamsungNEXT Startup Competition at Propelify 2017 along with tons of cash, prizes and bragging rights? We’re thrilled to introduce you to the 10 semi-finalists of this year’s Startup Competition. They will be pitching to judges in a showdown this Thursday, May 18th during the Propelify Innovation Festival in Hoboken, NJ. Be there to see who is crowned the winner!

Get to know RapidSOS, technology transforming emergency response. They've been featured in the The New York TimesTIMEThe Washington Post and were named Startup of the Year by the Consumer Technology Association.

Describe the problem you are solving.

Technology has dramatically changed our lives in the past 50 years, except for when we need it most. Over 180 million mobile 9-1-1 calls are made annually, all of which rely on a voice-only connection and provide limited or no location data. This means that none of the advanced capabilities of your smartphone are put to use in an emergency. RapidSOS’ Emergency API, provides a universal data pipeline into 9-1-1’s existing system. Without any new training, equipment, or cost to the dispatch center, RapidSOS transmits data, including location, type of emergency, relevant medical and demographic information, and media (where available).

Why did you start this company? What excites you about it?

Michael Martin, CEO, founded RapidSOS in 2013 after personal experiences around the challenges of emergency communication. In 2012, Michael was followed home one night in Harlem, NYC, when he realized how difficult it is to get help when you need it most. More recently, Michael’s father fell off the roof of his childhood home while trying to clear snow. For nearly two hours, Michael’s father lay in the frozen driveway with a broken wrist and shattered hip, unable to reach 9-1-1 from his cell phone. It wasn’t until Michael’s mother came home from work and was able to dial 9-1-1 from the home’s landline phone that an ambulance was called. RapidSOS represents one of the first major breakthroughs in emergency response since the 1960s. For the first time, dispatchers know exactly who you are, where you are, and have relevant data. The result is faster response times and connected families. We anticipate reductions of $4,000 in property damage, $1,542 in healthcare costs, and 10% in mortality for individuals using RapidSOS technology in an emergency.

What steps have you taken to validate the market? What traction can you share?

RapidSOS launched its initial technology showcase, a consumer app called Haven, on June 29, 2016. Haven connects users to the closest 9-1-1 dispatch center with one touch and transmits the user’s precise location, type of emergency, and relevant medical/demographic data directly to 9-1-1. It also connects users to loved ones, allowing them to check-in and share real-time location with each other. Loved ones can even call 9-1-1 on behalf of each other if they are in danger, and Haven will transmit the location and vital info of the person in danger to the closest 9-1-1 dispatch center. While the app was meant as a B2B showcase, over 70,000 consumers downloaded the app despite almost no marketing.

Who is your target demographic?

RapidSOS has 47 signed commercial partnerships across sectors that include white labeled mobile applications / functionality for the insurance, member org, and shared economy and connected device solutions for the automotive, IoT, and wearables markets.

How do you plan to acquire customers?

The service is primarily provided through partnerships with connected device companies (connected car, wearables, smartphones, home security & IoT). RapidSOS has over 45 signed partnerships and is in discussions with over 250 organizations representing 1B+ end users, including:

  • Constituency groups: emergency help for vulnerable groups
  • Insurance companies: claim reduction, brand support value
  • Tech/telecom: value-add service to drive ARPU
  • Universities: instant access to campus police
  • Home security & IoT: extend reach beyond home
  • Connected Car: Real-time crash data and precise location automatically sent to 9-1-1 when a crash is detected
  • Wearables: Adverse health events automatically send health and medical data to 9-1-1 and alerts loved ones

Does your product solve a social good?

Being part of an industry that has people risking their lives to save others has made it very important to the culture at RapidSOS to give back to the community. That’s why Michael has made sure the the technology is free to the 9-1-1 community and provides free access to the Haven app to anyone who cannot afford it via the Safer Together Movement. RapidSOS truly believes that everyone should have access to help when they need it most, and through our technology people will be able to get faster, more appropriate care, all while staying connected to loved ones.

Who is your team comprised of?

Our engineers from MIT, Google, NASA, Microsoft, Oracle, Argonne & Oak Ridge National Labs have developed mission critical code at labs, built mobile products for startups, and helped commercialize 70+ tech companies. We’ve spent years in 9-1-1 dispatcher centers, observing operations and developing our platform. RapidSOS’ award-winning technology, developed in partnership with 9-1-1 and backed by leading technologists and investors, will transform the outcomes of millions of emergencies.

What is your revenue model or expected revenue model?

Without RapidSOS, third party call centers are needed to relay information to 9-1-1 from connected devices. This is inefficient, costly, and time consuming, a fact that can negatively impact emergency outcomes. RapidSOS has created an innovation that is disrupting how people get help when they need it most by linking connected devices to 9-1-1. People can now get themselves help with the touch of a button, or 9-1-1 can automatically be called if a car crash, home fire, or high heart rate is detected. Without RapidSOS, companies need to pay third party call centers to relay their customers information to 9-1-1 on their behalf. With RapidSOS, third-party call centers are not needed, saving time and money.

Join us on May 18, 2017 in Hoboken, NJ at Propelify Innovation Festival,  where 8,000+ innovators from across the Northeast unite for a must-attend day of tech, investors, talks, exhibitors, VR, drones, and music. Register For Propelify Now. 

About the Author mufasa