Startup of the Week / NowForce, the Smartphone Life Saver

A panic button in the palm of your hand that can get the right help to your door within minutes.

“We help save people’s lives with cell phones," says Asaf Shafran of NowForce, the company he founded and heads. how? Its technology transforms standard mobile phones into life-saving networks, as the company puts it, including by making the work of emergency responders more efficient.

NowForce's lifesaving technology starts with an average guy with a smartphone reaching out for help in a specific emergency.

For the individual user, like you, just download the application, available for Android and iPhone, which functions as a distress button. When you use the app in an emergency, it alerts the appropriate response team to your call and directs it to your location.

The application also helps organizations (and their call centers), such as fire fighters, hospitals and ambulance services, organize, improving their efficiency and response times.

“Our system meets the requirements of rescue and emergency teams of any size and at any location," Shafran claims. “It knows how to link any incident to the relevant response crew."

NowForce's solution operates with Cloud technology and can be used by any browser on devices ranging from iPad to laptop to a control room with six plasma screens. Set up time for an organization to start using NowForce is less than an hour.

“We can locate the closest appropriate responder with the right equipment and expertise," says Shafran. "We just installed our product with the police force in Missouri. Since its installation, it takes only two and a half minutes between an emergency call and a knock on the door by a paramedic or policeman.

"We may be used to fast responses in Israel, but in the United States it typically takes 15 minutes or more."

Some of NowForce's clients include Natali, provider of emergency medical services in Israel, local authorities in Brazil, protection services for Jewish organizations in Australia, police services in Nigeria and Vietnam, U.S. fire departments and more.

The fee structure is a basic monthly subscription that ranges from $15-30 per device per month, depending on certain features. The price includes call center costs.

NowForce was set up in 2008 and employs 20 people at the high-tech industrial park at Har Hotzvim in Jerusalem. It recently opened offices in Washington, D.C.

“We’ve raised $6 million so far from friends and family as well as some individual investors," says Shafran. Barak Ben-Eliezer’s Winnovation and Indigo Strategic Partners chipped in at a later stage. Currently, the product is sold directly to customers as well as through high-powered partners. The company expects to start turning a profit this year.

"We save lives, but also save organizations a lot of money," says Shafran. "People buy the product only when they see returns on investments."

Itzik Ben-Malki
Bloomberg