Oct 12, 2023

Our Investment in Aerodome

Aerodome is building a drone-as-a-first-responder platform for public safety.

Zann Ali

Picture This

Picture this: it's late at night, and a distressing 911 call comes in. A child has gone missing in the town center. In a situation like this, every second is a potential game-changer.

As the dispatcher puts down the phone, a light whirring sound fills the air: a high-tech autonomous drone — powered by Aerodome — takes off from a nearby rooftop and flies to the last known location. No delays; just immediate response. It reaches the scene in a minute and a half, starting a comprehensive scan for the missing child even before ground units can get their boots on.

The drone sends real-time data back to the police HQ. Officers on-the-ground, now equipped with precise locations and visuals, coordinate their personnel effectively.

And within minutes, the missing child is found.

Thanks to Aerodome, the future is here now.

And it extends beyond search and rescue: it helps in pursuit mitigation, wildfire detection, crimes-in-progress, and much more.

The Status Quo

For most police departments today, this futuristic scene might sound like a far-off dream. The reality? Most can't afford helicopters, the current gold standard for aerial support.

Even if they manage to get one, it requires highly trained pilots, support staff, and it isn't available 24/7 due to operational constraints. Not to mention how many public safety personnel needlessly die every year in helicopter crashes. The result: most community-level 911 calls don’t get air support. These valuable resources remain underutilized, and immediate aerial support, in cases like our hypothetical missing child, remains a pipe dream.

And let's not forget the jaw-dropping operating costs that could make any city comptroller cringe…

Enter Aerodome

We’ve heard the need loud and clear as we’ve interviewed police chiefs around the country. There is near unanimous desire build drone-as-a-first-responder programs — one that is cheaper, faster, and safer, for both citizens and first responders.

Aerodome is building the world's first fully remote, fully automated, multi-station, multi-drone air support system.

It's a bold vision - swapping outdated and costly helicopter programs for a smart, efficient, and scalable solution. And it’s no easy feat - building infrastructure for air support is a hard technical challenge which involves building complex software and integrating with the best hardware on the market.

Very few founders are as well equipped to take a swing at this than Rahul.

The Dream Team

The second you meet Rahul, you’ll understand why he is the right founder to build this company.

Tell him your hometown, and he’ll reply with your local police chief’s name. This encyclopedic knowledge wasn’t inherited overnight — it was earned over years of serving and building for the industry.

Rahul was a front-liner himself, serving as a police officer, paramedic, and pilot. He uniquely understands the challenges and opportunities in public safety. As a current reserve police officer, he was the acting air support commander for the second police department in the country to implement a drone-as-first-responder program.

Rahul’s first company was SPIDR Tech, a software platform for local departments to handle “customer” service. After a successful acquisition last year, Rahul immediately knew his next adventure: modernizing air support.

Rahul is joined by a rockstar team of engineers and they are just weeks away from deploying with several departments across the country.

2048vc x Aerodome

We were lucky to have a front-row seat to SPIDR Tech, so as soon as we knew Rahul was ready for a second go at the rodeo, we knew we had to be involved.

And today, we are lucky to co-lead Rahul’s $6.5M seed round alongside our dynamic friends, David Ulevitch & Michelle Volz at a16z.

At 2048 Ventures, we’ve had a longstanding thesis that drones are foundationally an incredible technology to propel our society into the future. And we’re grateful to partner with Rahul and the Aerodome team as they help advance this mission.

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