Golden Valley startup Vitals Aware Services has earned 25 business customers since 2017 inception who are paying annually for the nascent service.
The company combines wearable IoT beacons with educational content and mobile apps to improve human interactions between people with mental health issues and First Responder Agencies such as police, fire departments, and EMTs.
“Of all the people injured or killed by the police, 50% have some kind of disability,” says Vitals cofounder Nick Tietz, pointing out the social tragedy that Vitals seeks to solve. Blown out at scale, it’s a costly situation, as he explains:
“Police data shows the number of mental health calls have more than doubled since 2011. 1 in 10 response calls involve someone in a mental health crisis or with a disability. There are 100MM+ vulnerable individuals across the US — individuals with visible and invisible conditions and disabilities such as: Autism, Dementia, Epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, Bi-Polar, ADHD, Down syndrome, Schizophrenia, cognitive and intellectual disabilities.”
Vitals claims to be the first and only company to have created such a platform and sees a broad market potential of over 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies plus 30,000 civilian fire departments — not counting EMTs.
“Vitals works across any geographic boundary and is technology agnostic. Our product has been designed to improve existing police workflows, while closing the information gap that exists today between police and individuals in the community.”
Early on, Vitals partnered with the St. Paul police department and then recruited former Minneapolis Police Chief Harteau following her retirement. They now count four major local nonprofit partners: The Autism Society Minnesota, The Arc of Minnesota, PACER Center and The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota — all helping to get the word out about Vitals.
“The demand for our services in the communities we serve is growing rapidly,” Tietz continues, “We have doubled our user base in the last month based on word of mouth success stories from our users and have over 700 unique families that have signed up for the service, they are now beginning to come from all over the country ahead of their Police of Fire departments.”
Vitals has been financed with about $800k in seed money through a ‘family and friends’ convertible debt round offering and is “Beginning to have conversations with venture firms.”