Before working in public safety, Steven had a 20-year career in the banking sector, where he was involved in IT programming – designing trading systems and living between New York and London.
His life and career path shifted after his late brother, Bobby Raucher, drowned in Cape Town in 2005. Steve then decided to become a First Responder for the South African National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI). Not long afterwards, he jumped at the opportunity to start RapidDeploy – a public safety software company that focuses on reducing emergency response times.
From a team of two in 2016, RapidDeploy now has over 210 people in its company today and have processed over 25 million 9-1-1 calls on their American platform.
M.R. Rangaswami: You sell 100% to the public sector – has COVID changed your sales approach or sales cycle?
Steven Raucher: Like many other tech companies, our team had to learn how to sell remotely. Our market dynamic is interesting in that our customers do not compete; they collaborate, hence referral business is a large part of our sales process. There is a network effect in our products’ ability to improve performance across neighbouring implementations. The one real change we had to make was the invention of a new screen sharing application that allowed us to share a complex three-screen system on a single screen, so it is Zoom-friendly.
M.R.: Has COVID accelerated or slowed down your business in selling Saas based emergency response systems?
Steven: COVID sped up some deals where agencies had the workforce to focus on the transaction. We managed to do a lot of upsells, which is less labor-intensive. However, a portion of net-new deals slipped because of customer bandwidth and them focusing on immediate emergency needs. But, happily; we never lost a deal from our funnel due to COVID.
M.R.: You publish your pricing on your website – which is unusual for companies selling to the public sector. Does this strategy create contractual issues?
Steven: Transparent pricing is one of the tools we have used to totally disrupt a legacy marketplace that prided itself on perpetual license fees and buried service costs. We believe there are only benefits to publishing our SaaS pricing.
That said, the only contractual issues are explaining that we have scaled pricing as we serve customers from a single one-seat 9-1-1 center – right up to the Entire State of California. Other levers have been zero-cost integrations and massive distribution via our partnership with AT&T.
M.R. Rangaswami is the Co-Founder of Sandhill.com