Toronto-based Guardly is putting more emphasis on its enterprise security solution, and today it reveals that it has raised $1.45 million in what founder and CEO Josh Sookman describes as a “Seed 2” round. The company previously raised a bit of money, but this time it’s committing more fully to a recently-explored new market – providing peace of mind to employers and workers by securing their premises and their people.
The investment comes from SF-based Freestyle Capital, as well as Golden Venture Partners and the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund. These investors were chosen based on trust and partner fit, and the proceeds from the round were necessary, Sookman says, because their shift in focus from a pure consumer play to selling through to enterprise required more capital than they’d managed to nail down previously.
Guardly, you may recall, originally launched as a personal security app aimed mostly at end users. It would notify your chosen contacts in case of emergency, as well as the authorities. The company then shifted into partnering with educational organizations, including universities, to supplement on-campus security solutions with their mobile software. They announced a number of partnerships and growth metrics in that space, including with Blackboard competitor Desire2Learn, but Guardly also turned its attention to the enterprise space.
It made a number of product improvements to appeal to this new market, including introducing an indoor positioning system offering within Guardly itself to help responders see not only a general area where a call from help was coming from, but from where specifically within a building. That’s a huge asset when you’re dealing with facility security, which is one of the new key areas of focus for the company. That focus is especially important now, as Sookman explained in an interview.
“Why now is actually very important because we’ve essentially found product/market fit, signing up new customers, rolling out the solution for them and we’re starting to get a ton of engagement in our sales pipeline across a wide range of verticals,” he said, regarding the timing of the funding. “We’re essentially doubling-down on all our efforts to date and investing heavily in R&D towards enhancing existing features and adding new features that will help close us a number of key accounts.”
Guardly’s repositioned tech offers enterprise customers an emergency network that can handle inbound from employees both local and remote, as well as push important safety updates and notifications to a workforce. It also works with peoples’ existing phones, which is an advantage over alternate systems that require dedicated hardware, and it focuses on low-latency delivery, so that there aren’t any delays in terms of routing information to the enterprise security and safety personnel who need it most.
This startup is noteworthy for the number of times it has re-invented itself, but it’s doing a good job of building on the momentum of its past successes to explore new areas of interest. The school solutions continue to exist and be supported, but Guardly clearly feels it has struck a richer vein with the enterprise and business market, so it’ll be interesting to see where that leads it next.