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It’s been quite a year for Steven Raucher and Brett Meyerowitz, the founders of SA startup RapidDeploy.
The startup’s cloud-based software enables public safety officials to reduce emergency response times and improve situational awareness.
In February the pair announced that their startup had landed a $12-million (over R175-million at current rates) investment in a Series-A round from US venture capital fund GreatPoint Ventures and innovation fund Samsung Next.
It’s one of the largest — if not the largest — deals scored by an SA startup in 2019.
Next week RapidDeploy’s Cape Town team will move to new 1500 square-metre offices in Century City
And a month ago, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, described at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida (see this video clip) how RapidDeploy protects public safety and prevents ransomware attacks.
It comes after the startup was in June named Microsoft US Partner of the Year for Government Industry 2019.
In October the startup was awarded the Innovator of the Year Award by YTexas.
Office move to Century City location
Today over 95% of the startup’s revenue is generated from clients in the US – including AT&T, which operates the country’s 9-1-1 service, as well as government contracts with the state of California and state of Kansas.
The startup was founded by Meyerowitz (pictured above, right in 2014. He was later joined by fellow founder Raucher (above left) who is now the CEO, in 2016. In January the startup opened a US office in Austin, Texas (see this story).
The startup now employs almost 100 people – 62 in Cape Town and 35 in Austin, in the US. Next week the company will move to new 1500 square-metre offices in Century City.
Raucher says the startup is looking to double its Cape Town staff numbers to 120, by the end of next year. Currently the startup has job adverts out for seven new positions in the city.
“The people we’ve recruited in Cape Town have been the best of the best,” says Raucher.
He also revealed that the startup had been looking to raise a Series-B round in June, but that given the significant revenue (“hundreds of millions of dollars”, according to Raucher) it is currently generated from increased demand from clients, it opted to put this on hold.
Raucher says he and Meyerowitz together remain the majority shareholders in the company.
Raucher says such has been the demand, that the last time that someone from the startup initiated a sales call, was in November 2017. Most of the inbound sale leads are generated from referrals and resellers.
The startup has also added a map that allows first responders to locate a caller and call detail record as part of its cloud-based offering.
‘South Africans, don’t sit on the sidelines’
South Africa’s economic outlook might look grim, while the country battles power outages again, but the tech sector remains hot.
Meyerowitz, who worked in London as the chief technology officer (CTO) of a company there for 12 years, before returning to South Africa in 2012, says instead of sitting as a spectator on the sidelines, South Africans should get involved in trying to make a difference in the country. “Every little bit helps,” he adds.
Raucher recalls how in the 1980s many of his friends were immigrating, saying the country “was going to end” but that things didn’t quite fall apart as many had thought they would. “I still have property in South Africa that I don’t intend selling,” he adds.
As South African businesses battle amid an ailing economy, struck by power outages, RapidDeploy’s rapid ascent provides food for thought to any South African pessimists.
Adds Meyerowitz: “We’re playing with the big boys”.
They really are.
Editor’s note (12 December 2019): In June, RapidDeploy CEO Steven Raucher recorded a podcast on the Within The Trenches show (the most popular podcast in 911 industry). The recording walks you through the entire journey of RapidDeploy, right up to the present. Raucher also held another podcast interview with the YTexas CEO network in August.
Read more: SA startup RapidDeploy raises $12m from Samsung Next, GreatPoint Ventures
Read more: SA startup RapidDeploy opens office in Austin, Texas to meet growing US demand
Read more: Cape Town startup RapidDeploy to move HQ to US after AT&T deal for 911 product
*Correction: In the initial version of this article it was mentioned that Microsoft is a client of RapidDeploy — when the tech giant is in fact not a client of the startup.
Featured image: RapidDeploy founders Steven Raucher (left) and Brett Meyerowitz (right) (Supplied)