By Tom Hawkins
Calling 911 in the middle of an emergency is not an experience that anyone anticipates or wants. It’s an action that we’re taught as children and one that, when the time comes, we hope works flawlessly to bring aid our way.
Unfortunately, the existing emergency response infrastructure, with 911 at its core, does not always work flawlessly when we need it most, as both emergency victims and responders can be left disconnected by poor communication and limited information flow. The immediate question that comes to mind when presented with this dated system, then, is, “Why, when we’re constantly connected to smart devices that record our location, heart rate, voice, and other pieces of data, can emergency responders not always find and help us?”
Michael Martin, the founder and CEO of RapidSOS, asked just that question after experiencing his own moment of personal emergency in December 2012. He spent much of 2013 researching the ins and outs of 911 and found a system more equipped for 1965 than for today. "The system was built back when landlines were king and so it's not well equipped to handle cell phones," said Martin. "Over 10,000 people die a year because calls drop or dispatchers can't accurately pinpoint a person's location.”
Michael and his team have spent the last 4 years building RapidSOS to bring the emergency response system up to speed. Their data platform links connected devices to 911 and first responders, leading to faster response times, more accurate and data rich information, and lower operating costs.
In its journey to date, RapidSOS has developed strong relationships with key players in the broader emergency network, which we believe will be invaluable in the path towards a better 911 system. Those key players include most major 911 software providers and countless first responder organizations around the country. Also, RapidSOS has the strategic support – and equity investment – from industry leaders, such as Motorola Solutions and AAA.
Forté Ventures is excited to announce its investment in RapidSOS, which we hope will fuel the company's growth and help the team execute on the mission to transform emergency response. We look forward to our partnership with Michael, his team, and strong strategic co-investors, like Motorola Solutions Venture Capital and A3 Labs (AAA), and to the ways in which this life-changing technology will evolve in the coming years.