It started with a conversation between friends about reducing injuries and deaths in the firefighting community. But after scaling the concept through the Create-X Idea-2-Prototype class at Georgia Tech and launching their first product, the team behind SlateSafety (formerly FireHUD) realized their wearable technology had even more industrial use cases.
Now the Norcross, Georgia-based startup is bringing a wearable device to market that provides “connected worker safety” to first responders, military, and industrial employees.
“We learned that industrial workers and military members face similar problems in terms of heat stress and overexertion,” co-founder Zack Braun told Hypepotamus. “For industrial workers, overexertion causes 35% of all injuries and is the largest contributor to workers’ compensation costs — more than $15 billion, or 25% of the total cost in 2012. In the military, recruits commonly reach dangerous levels of physiological exertion. From 2014 to 2018, there were over 1500 heat-related illnesses that required hospitalization at Fort Benning alone.”
Braun co-founded the company alongside fellow Georgia Tech graduates Joe Boettcher and Tyler Sisk. Currently, the startup’s largest customer is the U.S. Air Force, which uses the system to monitor recruits in training. But SlateSafety has started to see “great traction in the steel, oil & gas, construction industries, as well as the emergency service,” said Braun.
SlateSafety is launching its BAND V2, which was already named to the TIME’s Top 100 Inventions of 2021, with the goal of helping users better understand real-time measurements of heart rate, core temperature, exertion, and movement.
“The BAND V2 will be the first reliable, rugged, and easy-to-use safety wearable for applications ranging from lone-workers to large industrial worksites and from emergency response to military training…SlateSafety creates personalized profiles that predict exertion levels for all group members and provides real-time alerts in order to prevent injuries and deaths,” Braum added.
The team is starting out 2022 with a $1.7 million seed round, led by RFSI.
Previous investors include early-stage VC firm Dorm Room Fund and angel investor Chris Klaus via Georgia Tech’s Create-X Startup Launch Fund. The tteam has received $2 million in funding from both the National Science Foundation and the United States Air Force since its inception in 2016.
SlateSafety will be focused on hiring and product growth, with plans to expand its “engineering-centric” team with additional sales, marketing, and customer success roles. The current team members bring experience from ASA JPL, Apple, Lockheed Martin, Uber, Coca-Cola, Slalom Consulting, and Texas Instruments.