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By Sebastian Herrera, Austin Statesman
January 9, 2019

RapidDeploy, an emergency dispatch cloud system founded in South Africa, said Wednesday that it has moved its headquarters to Austin as it looks to expand its presence in the United States, which has become its core market.

RapidDeploy is debuting its office at 119 Nueces Street on Thursday, with about 100 guests expected to attend.

Led by CEO Steve Raucher, the company said it will have about 25 employees from the Austin area by the end of March, all being new hires. Its total workforce now stands at about 50, a figure Raucher said the cloud provider plans to double by the end of the year.

RapidDeploy picked Austin because it is a tech-friendly city in a state with a large pool of emergency service providers, Raucher said.

“I first came to Austin in June 2017 and was blown away,” Raucher said in an interview Wednesday. “It’s an incredible place, a tech hub and a great place to find talent. Texas also has a huge part to play in terms of 911 service.”

RapidDeploy builds cloud-based software that enables emergency dispatchers to better communicate information such as routes and patient information to first responders through an integrated system on mobile devices and computers. Company executives say its solutions save time both in system setup at emergency dispatch offices and in response times during emergency situations.

Raucher and Brett Meyerowitz, RapidDeploy’s chief technology officer, founded the company in the early 2010s but did not begin serious operations until 2016. Soon after, the two targeted U.S. markets because of the massive amount of potential customers here.

To date, RapidDeploy has started pilot tests or is in contract discussions with roughly 75 emergency agencies throughout the country, Raucher said, including with city governments, police departments and other entities in states such as Florida and South Carolina.

The company’s only Texas operation so far is a contract with a North Texas dispatch center in Arlington for use of an analytics system the company offers. Raucher said executives are hoping to launch their full product in various municipalities by this summer.

In August, broadband provider AT&T announced it would be working with RapidDeploy to connect emergency centers to the software company’s tools. RapidDeploy said it still has about 30 customers in South Africa, ranging from police departments to fire rescue services and private security firms and also has operations in the United Kingdom and Fiji.

While its U.S. presence is still fairly new, Raucher said he sees great potential.

“We are early in our America (operations),” he said. “The demand is so big, though.”