RapidDeploy’s U.S. team, courtesy photo

By Laura Lorek, Publisher of Silicon Hills News

RapidDeploy, a South African company that has created an emergency platform based on cloud technology, is branching out to Austin.

The company officially opened its new U.S. headquarters at a private event at Galvanize Thursday night with Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu, the South African Ambassador to the U.S., in attendance. Its headquarters will be based at Galvanize.

 “With customer demand booming and the US market longing for modern technology to replace their outdated infrastructure, it was time to move our headquarters to the US,” Steve Rauncher, RapidDeploy’s CEO and co-founder said in a news release. “We’ll be closer to some of our most important customers and partners and are excited to begin this new chapter.”

RapidDeploy’s cloud-based alert system was designed by first responders. It is more reliable, faster to deploy and more effective and offers more features than traditional computer-based dispatch software, said Reinhard Ekl, Chief Operating Officer of RapidDeploy.

RapidDeploy has also partnered with AT&T, which provides telephone service to most of the country’s 9-1-1 dispatchers, to provide its call centers with its cloud-based platform.

Currently, some very small dispatch systems use pen and paper and others use on premise computer aided dispatch which makes it very hard to locate callers and doesn’t give responders situational awareness, Ekl said.

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, Ekl said. For example, RapidDeploy pulls information from Waze, which is a crowdsourced traffic and incident app. Other sources of information can be from real time weather apps and historical data.

 “We use vast amounts of data for predicting future emergencies so that emergency responders can prepare accordingly,” Ekl said.

Because of the way RapidDeploy combines real time traffic data and historical incident information, the company can help emergency responders relocate their ambulances and respond even faster to emergencies, Ekl said.

RapidDeploy picked Austin because of its talented technology workforce, Ekl said. And its extensive technology ecosystem, he said.

“We’re a technology company,” Ekl said. “We need access to a strong talent pool. There’s a great entrepreneurial spirit in Austin.”

RapidDeploy has 11 people at its Austin office. But the company plans to grow significantly over the next few months and plans to have 50 people by the end of the year, Ekl said.

 The company also will continue to grow its team in Cape Town, South Africa, Ekl said.