German security startup SEON has raised R55-million (€3-million) in funding from private investors and through a German government-funded venture capital fund.

According to Finn Plotz, co-founder and MD of SEON, the funds will be utilised for advanced software development, and to grow SEON’s position in the South African market.

“South Africa is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the world, but also one of the most dangerous,” says Plotz. “We have chosen the country as the best place in the world to invest in, due to its thriving tech ecosystem and its high levels of awareness around personal security. We believe the nature of our platform – which improves emergency response coordination – can help enhance security and health responses for all citizens.”

SEON is a technology startup that enables emergency services to render faster responses. “In an emergency, every second matters, says Plotz. “We are providing first responders with the tools they need to receive alerts sooner, instantly dispatch resources, and communicate effectively.”

South Africa has well-documented issues with emergency response times. In a 2017 household survey by StatsSA, the Western Cape was the only province where a significant portion of households said it takes less than 30 minutes for police to respond to an emergency call. In the North West, more than half of households said the police take longer than two hours to arrive – if they arrive at all.

A study by the London School of Economics (LSE) found that, for every 10% improvement in police response time, the chances of detection improve by 4.6%. Medical response times are equally critical: the American Heart Association (AHA) states that survival rates for cardiac arrest patients fall 7-10% for every untreated minute.

Plotz and his team, including co-founders Nils Loewe (chief technology officer) and Michel Weiss (chief operating officer), believe there is opportunity for technology to be used to improve coordination among and within emergency services and ultimately reduce the time it takes for emergency services to arrive.

“Response times have a massive impact on community safety, and any improvement we can make here will directly benefit local communities,” says Plotz. “As part of our investment into South Africa, we are partnering with armed response security companies and public safety services to also improve collaboration between different providers in an effort to ensure every South African experiencing an emergency can get the help they need, quickly.”