Cape Town tech start-up moves HQ to US
Local technology start-up company RapidDeploy is spreading its wings, in reaction to strong demand from its growing US customer base, opening its US headquarters in Austin, Texas.
RapidDeploy says it discards legacy emergency dispatch systems in favour of modern technology, such as the Internet of things, cloud computing, mobility and online mapping, in order to solve the key challenges faced by emergency service providers and make mission-critical dispatch more affordable, quicker and more reliable.
Its platform was developed using Microsoft Azure government cloud architecture. RapidDeploy aims to reduce response times and improve first responder safety by increasing situational awareness.
"With customer demand booming and the US market longing for modern technology to replace their outdated infrastructure, it was time to move our headquarters to the US. We'll be closer to some of our most important customers and partners, and are excited to begin this new chapter," says Steve Raucher, RapidDeploy CEO and co-founder.
Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu, South African ambassador to the US, says: "These are the relationships that we are building in terms of trade and investment to grow our economies, particularly in creating jobs and addressing poverty among the people.
"Most importantly, this has been developed in South Africa; however, it has been recognised by the United States of America as a leading technology and innovation. This partnership is going to take us many years forward, building the road for the young people of both of these countries, creating jobs in the United States of America and in South Africa, and playing a very big role in the fourth industrial revolution."
Last August, RapidDeploy announced it had teamed up with AT&T and started pilot tests. The start-up says it is in contract discussions with approximately 75 emergency agencies throughout the country, including city governments and police departments.
Says Reinhard Ekl, COO of RapidDeploy: "RapidDeploy's cloud-based alert system is more reliable, faster to deploy and more effective, offering more features than traditional computer-based dispatch software.
"Currently, some very small dispatch systems use pen and paper and others use on-premises computer-aided dispatch, which makes it very hard to locate callers and doesn't give responders situational awareness.
"RapidDeploy's system, using the cloud, can track and locate callers as well as responders. It's powered by a geographical information system that relies on real-time data from a lot of sources. Because of the way RapidDeploy combines real-time traffic data and historical incident information, the company can help emergency responders respond faster to emergencies."
Austin was selected to be RapidDeploy's headquarters because of its talented technology workforce and its extensive technology ecosystem, it says.
"We're a technology company," says Ekl. "We need access to a strong talent pool and there's a great entrepreneurial spirit in Austin."
RapidDeploy aims to have 25 employees from Austin by the end of March, and with its total workforce standing at 50, plans are to double numbers by the end of the year, while continuing to grow its team in Cape Town.