Serial entrepreneur Brian Cruver is no stranger to startups. He’s founded several companies and is an avid investor in the local startup scene. But in launching his latest venture, AlertMedia, he was introduced to a situation he hadn’t yet encountered: seemingly limitless market opportunity.
“My previous startups, while also built to solve real problems, offered niche products sold to very specific industries and buyers,” said Cruver. “With AlertMedia, we have found that literally any organization can use our software to solve dozens of different communication challenges.”
Its communication platform, which updates employees before, during and after critical events, has been used in nearly every major headline-making emergency, including hurricanes, shootings, terror threats, wildfires and more. The company has already onboarded hundreds of enterprise companies from more than 90 countries since its launch in 2014.
We caught up with Cruver to learn more about what inspired AlertMedia, how the product continues to evolve, and what’s ahead in the coming months.
The power of individual people, sharing their on-the-scene perspectives immediately in multiple mediums (text, video, photos), was being ignored.”
What encouraged you to launch AlertMedia?
In late 2012 and early 2013, when I was developing the idea for AlertMedia, a lot of awful things were going on in the world. Among them, the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing, and a deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in West Texas. I began thinking about how critical, time-sensitive communications were happening during these incidents. It was obvious that better technology could help keep people safe and informed. AlertMedia was launched to improve communication, and improve the outcome, in these types of situations.
What about the communication during those events made you think your new technology could help?
There was an obvious shift from traditional news media being the primary source of information to social media playing the bigger role in providing real-time insight into what was happening on the front lines. The power of individual people, sharing their on-the-scene perspectives immediately in multiple mediums (text, video, photos), was being ignored by existing companies selling what was essentially outbound “broadcast” software. This one-way approach needed to be reinvented.
How has your product and mission evolved since AlertMedia launched in 2014?
Our mission is “to save lives and minimize loss by facilitating timely, accurate and relevant communications when an emergency situation threatens personal safety and business continuity.”
When we first launched, we focused primarily on the emergencies you see in the news. Working with our customers, we quickly realized businesses have to deal with much more than this. They have their own emergencies that aren’t particularly newsworthy but can cause major disruption within their organization and do great damage to their business.
At the core, our mission hasn’t changed, but we’ve discovered hundreds of different ways our product can be used that we initially never thought of, and there’s a much greater business need than we ever realized.
As the team itself has grown, what have you looked for in job candidates to preserve and build upon the company's mission?
We look for candidates who will thrive in our work environment. We’re a fast-growing team of dedicated and passionate people, working in a very open and collaborative setting. It’s high-energy, because we are adding so many customers so fast, and because everything about the business seems to be accelerating. If you’re used to hiding quietly behind a door in a soundproof office, we might not be the best fit for you. We don’t have offices, and I myself share a desk in the middle of our sales team.
We are succeeding in our mission, helping our customers keep their people safe and informed in emergency situations.”
What about AlertMedia are you most proud of?
We are all most proud of the work we are doing; we are succeeding in our mission, helping our customers keep their people safe and informed in emergency situations.
But as a founder and CEO, it’s the people.
I’ve put more time and energy into building our team, and working to strengthen our team, than anything else I’ve done here. The people make or break a startup. Our team is passionate, values integrity and takes tremendous pride in our work every day to deliver the best possible product and service to our customers.
We are an incredibly cohesive group, firing on all cylinders. Much of this is the result of clearly communicating an ongoing set of goals and putting in place a few things to help ensure everyone stays focused on those goals. This includes stock options and a company-wide bonus program based on our collective success.
What's next for AlertMedia?
Well for one thing, next month we’re moving into our new 14,000 square foot office — our fourth new office in four years. It’s crowded in here; we’re bursting at the seams. We’re sharing desks, having meetings in the supply closet, and doing sales demos on laptops in the stairwell. While this growth is fun, exciting, and a great problem to have, we’re definitely looking forward to having more space.
As far as the business goes, the sky is the limit. We’re already the fastest growing emergency communication software company in the world and the technology leader in our market. Our focus now is on increasing that lead and continuing to accelerate the growth of the business while we execute our product roadmap — which is getting more exciting by the minute.