RapidSOS, an emergency technology start-up, recently announced the closing of a $14 million Series A funding round led by Highland Capital Partners with participation from A3Ventures (the innovation subsidiary of AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah), The Westly Group, Two Sigma Ventures, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, Responder Ventures, and several notable individuals including three former FCC Chairmen (Tom Wheeler, Julius Genachowski, Dennis Patrick).
Technology has dramatically changed our lives over the last 50 years, except for when we need it most. Over 240 million 911 calls are made each year, all reliant on a voice connection with less data than was originally transmitted through the first trans-Atlantic cable in 1858. The FCC estimates that improved information flow to 911 and first responders could save over 10,000 lives annually.
“For the last 50 years – we’ve relied on a voice-only connection when our lives were on the line – whether from us or through a home security, medical alert, or roadside assistance call center,” said Dan Nova, Partner at Highland Capital Partners and RapidSOS Board Member. “RapidSOS’ technology eliminates the need for clunky third-party call centers – providing a transformative platform for safety, security, and wellness.”
RapidSOS spent four years working closely with thousands of public safety officials across the United States to develop a universal data link into 911 and first responder networks. The result is a transformation from a voice-only system into a rich data link connecting millions of smartphones, wearables, connected cars, and home IoT products directly to 911 and first responders.
- Wearables powered by RapidSOS automatically detect health emergencies – transmitting rich data to responding ambulances.
- Connected cars provide key telematics data to 911 and responders.
- Connected homes linked through RapidSOS inform firefighters with real-time data including smoke density, temperature, and location of trapped occupants.
“Over the past four years I’ve witnessed the incredible heroism of public safety officials who manage millions of emergencies with little more than a distraught caller’s voice,” said Michael Martin, CEO of RapidSOS. “I’m excited to be partnering with thought leaders across public safety, telecom, and technology to link any device with rich data directly to 911 and first responders.”
“Working with RapidSOS brings a new dimension to our portfolio of integrated software solutions for the public safety command center,” said Eduardo Conrado, Executive Vice President, Strategy & Innovation Office, Motorola Solutions. “Our work together creates end-to-end emergency data connectivity, enabling third-party data to flow through Motorola Solutions’ emergency response systems to personnel in the field. It provides critical information that can accelerate response times and improve outcomes.”
“Having served as State Controller and CFO of California, I know firsthand that 911 centers face significant funding and technological challenges impacting lives,” said Steve Westly, Founder and Managing Partner at The Westly Group. “We are thrilled to work with the top engineers at RapidSOS to solve this global challenge.”
RapidSOS’ technology platform, originally developed by Martin, Nick Horelik and a team of engineers out of MIT and Harvard University, provides a rich data link into any 911 dispatch system and a platform for advanced emergency analytics. “We’ve already seen how emergencies are often predictable and preventable,” said Horelik, RapidSOS CTO. “In the future, our users will get advanced warning about car accidents and potential medical emergencies before they occur.”
“AAA is constantly looking for innovative ways to serve its 56 million members across the United States and Canada,” said Dillon McDonald, Managing Partner at A3 Ventures, the innovation subsidiary of AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah. “We couldn’t have asked for a better company to be the first investment from the newly formed A3 Ventures. It is only fitting that we are working with RapidSOS not only as an investor, but also as a partner to bring unprecedented safety, security, and wellness to millions of our members.”
“I spent much of my career as Chairman of the FCC working to strengthen public safety and make improvements to our nation’s 911 system,” said Tom Wheeler, Former Chairman of the FCC. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work directly with RapidSOS as they deploy their emergency platform to enhance the data available to 911 and first responder systems nationwide.”
“We are humbled to be collaborating with such thought leaders across public safety and technology,” said Martin. “Every day 650,000 emergency calls are placed across the United States, in partnership with the public safety community we are transforming the outcomes of millions of these emergencies.”
 National Emergency Number Association. https://www.nena.org/?page=911Statistics.
 911’s infrastructure today relies on a voice connection, accommodating only 512 characters of information that are minimally used; the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable from the Queen of England to the President of the United States in 1858 transmitted 619 characters.
 Federal Communications Commission. https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-15-9A1.pdf.