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20 Public Safety Tech Companies to Tour 10 Cities in 2019

Twenty startups, offering everything from drone surveillance to data analytics, communications, firearm sensors and X-ray software, will show off their wares for first responders at 10 free conferences through the year.

ResponderXLabs, a program that tests and showcases new technology for first responders, has announced its lineup of 20 companies and 10 host cities for 2019 events.

Backed by Responder Corp’s investment firm Responder Ventures in partnership with Amazon Web Services, ResponderXLabs launched its event series in 2018 with two conferences in October and November, one in Washington, D.C., and the other in San Francisco, featuring booths and presentations from 16 startups.

In a news release this week, ResponderXLabs listed 20 startups that will exhibit cloud-enabled innovations for first responders at 10 free events staggered throughout the year:

ResponderXLabs’ first two events are scheduled for April 15 in New York City and June 26 in Chicago, with a three-day “Operation Convergent Response” conference planned for Nov. 19-21 in Perry, Ga., and dates yet to be announced for events in Washington, D.C.; Boston; Seattle; Austin, Texas; Denver, San Francisco and Orlando, Fla.

Responder Corp Co-Founder and President Bryce Stirton told Government Technology that although there are 20 companies on the list for 2019, each event will only showcase 15. He said Responder Corp and AWS chose these from more than 100 applicants based on their potential impact for the market, the quality of their technology and the ability of their teams to execute.

Two of the companies on the new list, Geospiza and Synapse, had a showing at ResponderXLabs events in 2018 as well. Stirton said they were not technically part of the program last year but wanted to show off what they had, and they’ve officially joined the program this year.

Stirton said ResponderXLabs’ program coaches and tests select startups and their technologies to make sure they’re prepared for government customers, then trots them out at aforementioned live events, usually on the second Thursday of every month in a different city.

“One of the things that we found being in this space, through Responder Ventures, is that a lot of public-safety agencies don’t associate innovation with [such] high-quality ... companies. They associate it with a risk that they took two years ago that didn’t work out,” he said. “The goal … is to say, ‘The technology you’re going to see there, they’ve been curated, they’ve been vetted and they’ve been enabled’ … We tried it ourselves, we confirmed the technology works, we confirmed that they have satisfied customers, so if you guys come to our event, you’re able to see curated and enabled technology.”

Stirton said he was “ecstatic” about the response to last year’s inaugural events, which suggested to the ResponderXLabs team they were closing a gap between what first responders need and what’s available to them.

“The biggest thing we needed to test was how the end-users, the first responders and public-safety agency leaders, felt about the technologies they saw, because our thesis going into this was that a lot of them weren’t aware that this many advanced, market-ready technologies were available,” he said. “We continually got feedback from attendees that it’s great to know these solutions are out there.”