When it comes to any type of disaster – be it a wildfire, a flood, or even a terrorist attack – the impact is twofold. First, there’s the initial disaster, and then there’s the secondary effects as people try to organize a relief effort. The more efficient the relief effort, the less damage is done. This is where tech can come in, saving lives through more efficient mass communication. Apps like AlertMedia are finding the best ways for large organizations to do exactly that.
AlertMedia, an Austin-based startup founded in 2013, is solving the problem of mass communication during crises of all kinds. From natural disasters to active shooter scenarios, AlertMedia combines a mobile app with a monitoring system, both of which connect employees to each other as well as law enforcement and an emergency office. The company, which has raised over $42M, connects organizations to their employees over a variety of platforms, from email to texts. So far it’s been used during the California wildfires, helping Kawasaki Motors contact isolated employees in order to protect them and their families from impending danger.
Founder and CEO Brian Cruver said the idea occurred to him while he was watching the news coverage of a few different disasters: the Boston Marathon bombings, a Texas plant explosion, and the Newton school shooting.
“I was watching them unfold on the news and became interested in how communication was and wasn’t happening,” he told Crunchbase News. “I noticed that social media was helping the public know what was going on before news media and law enforcement.”
He’s not the first person to come up with a mass communication idea. In April of 2017 RapidSOS completed its Series A round of funding, collecting a total of $14M, while another Austin-based company Zello topped the app store when Hurricane Irma hit Louisiana, its walkie-talkie being instrumental for volunteers getting supplies and work crews to different necessary locations. Zello, however, is simply a walkie-talkie app, while AlertMedia combines SaaS with a team to monitor and connect employees to law enforcement at first alert.
AlertMedia has been largely successful at developing partnerships with major organizations. Its customer base includes Greyhound, Volskwagon, J Crew, DHL, AT&T, and the Chicago Stock Exchange. AlterMedia is used in over ninety countries, and has doubled its employees from 50 to 100 from 2017-2018.
“We have a lot of customers in transportation, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and business services,” Cruver told Crunchbase News. “Our platform spans such a wide range of industries that the addressable market for us is huge. That’s largely behind the reason for this funding, so we can meet demand and get the word out. There’s still tens of thousands of organizations around the world that haven’t even heard of us – yet.”
Large organizations with employees in multiple global locations need services like AlertMedia to protect their employees from unforeseen emergencies. Communication with personnel during such times can be tricky, as Cruver noticed when he came up with the idea for the company. While social media helped disseminate information faster, reliability and accuracy was a concern. An app like AlertMedia offers companies a reliable channel to communicate with their employees, and allows them in turn to have a reliable platform to get relevant, time-sensitive information at the time of a crisis.
How it works
The application itself is somewhat complicated, including a mobile app that works with a monitoring system to connect employees to each other, their bosses, as well as local law enforcement. The mobile app is called SafeSignal, which works in conjunction with a physical tether that plugs into employee phones. Pulling the tether is an instant way to send a distress signal to the AlertMedia Monitoring Center, which in turn will contact law enforcement and direct them to the employee’s exact location. The monitoring is 24/7, so AlertMedia workers can be contacted any time of day, any day of the year. The service is paid for through a fixed subscription, one determined based on company size and usage.
The company claims on its website that the SafeSignal app improves employee security, gives them confidence about their safety, and helps them connect to a professional team or law enforcement instantly. AlertMedia also suggests that users who are threatened should let potential attackers know that the alert will have police sent to their location immediately, so it becomes an active deterrent.
AlertMedia has only five investors, with Silverton Partners, JMI Equity and Next Coast Ventures contributing the majority of funds. The company just raised a $25M round from JMI Equity, and Cruver wrote in the company blog that –
“the investment serves to magnify our commitment to our customers, both current and future. This means expanding in all parts of the business. It means growing our development team to build new innovations in our product, expanding our customer success team so we can continue to deliver unparalleled customer support, and of course, hiring more people in sales and marketing so we can spread the word about what we do.”
This most recent investment was their Series C round, and the company has raised a total of $42M of 5 rounds. The investment, coming in the early days of 2019, got the company covered by Crunchbase News.
As one of the many companies changing how large organizations operate in the age of rapidly changing technology, AlertMedia will hopefully reach its goals of making employees safer in a time of great change.
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