Whether you are a small business in a single office or a multinational corporation spread across the world, it is equally important that your team is on the same page – especially in times of disaster. Groupdolists serves as the solution to make this seamless. The app specializes in incident and emergency reporting and can handle everything from everyday incidents to serious emergencies. Those on the frontlines are able to coordinate response, share critical information, and tracks results while response time, risk, and effort is reduced. This is the app that keeps you connected and organized when it matters most.
AlleyWatch spoke with founder Michael Sher about the company and their most recent Seed round.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
This week we announced that Centrallo Corporation, dba Groupdolists raised $1.5 million in Seed funding from Responder Ventures and a number of individual investors, including Sig Zises, Bruce Blythe, Dean Efkarpidis, and a few others.
Groupdolists is a SaaS solution that helps teams responsible for safeguarding employees, assets, supply chains, and reputations manage their responses to incidents faster, better and smarter than ever. The service allows any organization to digitize its standard and emergency operating procedures, activate them instantly from their iPhone or Android devices and/or Web, and mobilize their response teams within seconds. As tasks are completed, they sync in real-time to other team members’ devices, ensuring that everyone responding is always up-to-date and on the same page.
What inspired you to start the company?
I had cofounded my first company Send Word Now after the events of September 11, 2001 and built a world-class emergency notification voice and text alert service, with a focus on crisis and emergency management. In 2012, I identified significant gaps and inconsistencies in the way incident leaders accessed their response procedures and coordinated their teams. Emergency notification solutions are great (and just about every organization has one now), but are limited when it comes to tightly coordinating teams during incidents. We decided to tackle this problem and brought key original team members back to build Groupdolists to serve the exact same decision makers, solving a completely different yet complementary problem.
How is it different?
Groupdolists is a next-generation platform built using technologies that did not exist a few years ago, allowing the platform to create a real-time common operating picture in ways that were not possible until recently. The core feature set is also therefore unique or nearly unique in the market. Of course, there is superficial overlap with other offerings, but nothing out there is quite like Groupdolists.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
According to Markets & Markets, the Incident & Emergency Management market is $88B today, growing to over $114B by 2021. The emergency notification market is over $2B today growing to $5B by 2021, so we figure our segment is at least $2B and believe it will / should be larger than the emergency notification market.
What’s your business model?
We charge a yearly subscription based on two components; Administrators (those who can digitize and activate procedures and invite team members to participate) and Participants (those who can accept invitations to join an incident, complete tasks, etc.).
Why a separate app for times of disaster rather than using something already in the existing technology stack?
Right now, Groupdolists stands alone, but eventually it will become part of other larger comprehensive solutions that will include other complementary applications. One-stop shopping is the goal to simplify the experience for the customer.
What was the funding process like?
After Send Word Now was acquired in May of 2017, our credibility had been officially established. I immediately invested some proceeds from the sale into Groupdolists, and other strategic investors and a super-smart VC wanted to come along. We closed the round from start to finish in less than 4 months.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Luckily for us, deciding whom we wanted to let invest and whom we did not. Much of our thought process and rationale depended on their strategic fit and their ability to help us with future rounds, strategic advice, etc.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
The team’s track record, a clear need in the market for this type of technology, overwhelmingly positive responses from some of the largest government and corporate organizations in the world, tremendous growth opportunity, and the fact that we had barely scratched the surface on the opportunity. Additionally, our strategic partnership with Allied Universal also led to investor confidence. Allied is a $5.5B man-guarding security company with over 10,000 US-based customers that is now actively marketing and reselling Groupdolists in accordance with their recent GSOCaaS platform announcement.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Growing the team (we just hired sales executives in London, Canada, and the US), focusing on scaling globally, closing direct and indirect deals, and more.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
If you have a network of friends, family, and angel investors you think have capital to take a chance with you, then great. Work that angle. Randomly cold emailing or calling VC’s – (especially New York City-based) will get you nowhere! Make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated and try to connect with people you admire in the technology world who you think could help you. Once connected, ask for advice. Take them for coffee, get them on the phone, web demo them, etc. If you ask someone nicely and in the right way for help and guidance, some (definitely not most) will recognize your passion for your idea or project and will give you some time. When you get it, make sure to thank them and tell them how much you appreciate their time. As the meeting ends, ask whom else they know who might be a good person to talk to about your idea.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Major presentations and opportunity flow on the direct and channel fronts. Word is quickly spreading and we are seeing consistent upticks in inbound traffic. Handling it all could be our biggest challenge (a good challenge to have).
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
The Palm – West side