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BlackRock Investment Closes RapidSOS’ $150M Funding Round

The closing of the Series C round, with $75 million from BlackRock, could drive further integration of AI into RapidSOS’ products. The company is now one of the “highest-funded businesses” in public safety, an industry observer said.

Aerial view of a 911 call taker sitting at a desk in front of multiple monitors.
In a deal that highlights the spread of AI and investors’ continued interest in gov tech, RapidSOS has closed its $150 million Series C funding round with $75 million worth of fresh capital from BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager.

RapidSOS, founded in 2012, specializes in sending real-time data to emergency responders.

The pact comes amid the company’s increasing work with peers in the public safety tech world, including a verified reseller partnership with CentralSquare announced in late February.

The company has now raised more than $355 million, according to Crunchbase. The funding should stimulate its efforts to infuse products with artificial intelligence, according to CEO Michael Martin.

RapidSOS has already spent more than $250 million in R&D to better integrate “life-saving data” from more than 540 million connected devices into 4,400-plus public safety software systems, he told Government Technology via email.

“Over the course of that work we’ve quickly seen the power of fusing human and artificial intelligence to benefit end users,” he said. “This financing will further drive this fusion, ensuring that every connected device and system works in harmony with public safety to keep our communities safe.”

As RapidSOS’ technology has been used in 171 million emergencies in 2023, the amount of data the company holds has increased twentyfold over roughly six years, he said.

“The greatest impact will likely be on how this ever growing volume of information is structured using AI into public safety’s existing systems and operating procedures,” Martin said when talking about the new round of investment.

He didn’t specifically rule out acquisitions for the company in the wake of the Series C round, but said his attention was focused elsewhere.

“Our focus right now is to continue to invest in new technologies, solutions, and capabilities to make emergency response more intelligent and efficient,” Martin said.

The BlackRock investment and the closing of the funding round is the second big gov tech deal in recent days. It follows word of Cox Enterprises’ majority stake in OpenGov, a move that valued the seller of software for budgeting, planning and procurement at $1.8 billion.

The RapidSOS investment sends signals that go beyond public safety technology, said Jeff Cook, a managing director at Shea & Co., an investment bank that has advised in more than 20 gov tech deals, indicating it could spark even more capital coming into gov tech, more mergers and acquisitions, and more consolidation.

“The biggest takeaway is that the (broader gov tech) market is the most active that it’s been since the record-setting activity we saw in 2021,” Cook told Government Technology via email. “Deals beget deals, and, as we saw in 2021, there can be a ‘domino effect’ where increased market activity and large deals spurs additional activity.”

RapidSOS, he said, can now lay claim to being one of the “highest-funded businesses” in public safety.

“It’s yet another sign that there is a huge modernization wave going on in public safety and institutional investors are looking for opportunities to invest in that market,” Cook said. “Public safety today is an incredibly dynamic market and the pace of change/innovation is as rapid as it’s ever been.”

This recent funding round shows that RapidSOS is “creating a whole new market category,” said Frank Jarolimek-Proner, director at MergerTech Advisors, which consults with tech entrepreneurs (though it has not worked with RapidSOS).

As he sees it, RapidSOS has “reinvented” the public safety and emergency space and is “emerging” as a platform, with evidence coming from those partnership deals.

“Partnering instead of competing acknowledges RapidSOS’ dominance,” Jarolimek-Proner said via email. “This puts the company more on a path to continue as a platform and hence towards an IPO versus an acquisition.”
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in Wisconsin.