RapidSOS raises $30m with a dream of delivering ambulances as fast as burritos

RapidSOS, a startup that creates software to improve on-demand emergency response systems, raised $30m.

November 7, 2018

Thanks to on-demand apps, mozzarella sticks and pre-rolled joints are available for delivery with just a few swipes on a smartphone. But, lifesaving ambulances often require long calls and extended descriptions of the nearby intersections. 

RapidSOS thinks that’s, well, dumb — so it raised $30m to bring 9-1-1 emergency systems into the 21st century.

Growing faster than an ambulance running a red light

The New York-based startup raised $16m just 6 months ago, helping RapidSOS grow from 10k users to 250m users in less than a year.

But, the company has still only tapped a small fraction of the global emergency service market: Americans alone make 240m emergency calls a year, while callers across the world make more than 2B.

RapidSOS plans to use its pile of cash, which has grown to $65.6m, to expand internationally and improve features on both sides of the line.

Better for callers, better for responders

RapidSOS sells its flagship product to emergency response organizations, who then make it available free to users (it currently covers 180m people).

But the company also sells another major product, RapidSOS API, to large tech companies including Uber, Google, and Facebook — which then use it to incorporate emergency services into their apps.

Research has shown that Ubers are often faster and cheaper than normal emergency vehicles in crisis situations, and now it seems that Uber and other private companies are embracing their roles as de-facto ambulance service providers.

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