Discover more from Everywhere VC
Founders Everywhere: Rahul Sidhu
Rahul Sidhu is the co-founder & CEO of Aerodome, a startup bringing the future of air support to public safety agencies around the world.
Welcome to Founders Everywhere, where we highlight the incredible people behind the companies we’ve backed at Everywhere Ventures, a global pre-seed fund supported by a community of 500 founders and operators.
Public safety stands as the bedrock of a secure and thriving society. It has a direct impact on the well-being and quality of life of individuals and communities. Traditionally, air support for public safety has relied on helicopters, but they are expensive, inefficient, slow, and lack transparency in their operations. Aerodome is an innovative startup that provides an end-to-end automated drone response system for police and fire departments. What does that look like? After an agency receives an emergency call, a drone arrives on the scene within 3 minutes and steams video in real-time to responding personnel. This allows authorities to better assess the situation and respond accordingly, be it deploying officers, the fire department, or other emergency services.
Aerodome recently came out of stealth to announce their $6.5 million seed round, led by 2048 Ventures, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Everywhere Ventures, Anti Fund and other prominent investors. Co-founders Rahul Sidhu and Kenaniah Cerny have extensive experience in public safety and technology. Previously, the two founded SPIDR Tech, a customer service interface for law enforcement. They had a successful exit when it was acquired by Versaterm Public Safety in 2021. Kenaniah has 20+ years of software engineering experience, including integrating with 30+ police and fire software platforms. Rahul is a public safety expert, with over 14 years experience as a first responder, police officer, and firefighter. With this seasoned team in the cockpit, Aerodome is well equipped to bring the future of air support to public safety agencies around the world.
What’s Aerodome’s North Star?
We're re-inventing and democratizing air support to create safer communities around the world.
How has your background influenced you as a founder?
My background is really my biggest advantage as a founder. I've been a first responder for 14 years; I've worked as a paramedic, firefighter, and police officer. I’m also a pilot. In fact, I set up one of the world’s first “Drone-as-a-First-Responder programs” as the reserve air support supervisor for a police department in Los Angeles in 2020. After the successful exit of our last public safety tech company, I thought I would take a break from running a company, but when this opportunity presented itself, I knew we were the ones who needed to build it.
How does Aerodome inspire “customer love”?
By using a fully integrated, automated, and AI-driven software operating system, we equip agencies with highly advanced, 24/7 drone-as-first-response capabilities. This means agencies can expect:
Reduced patrol call volume by 15%, which requires less officers in the field
Reduce response times by over 50%, meaning first responders are able to get eyes on the scene 50% or more faster than what's happening today.
We are democratizing access to air support because these large traditional helicopters are too expensive and ineffective for the average community to be able to afford and operate. This is a much greener, safer, faster, efficient, cheaper way to get the benefits of real air support for the police and fire organizations. Our customers love that we’re fostering safer communities.
What has been the greatest challenge founding Aerodome?
I think the number one challenge that we're going to face is that of public opinion. While our product makes logical sense and holds potential for significant societal benefits, there's a difficulty in overcoming people’s emotional discomfort associated with drones flying around their communities at times. We want to make it very clear that we're not building anything for surveillance. Our devices respond to 911 emergency calls generated by the community and are basically a body camera in the sky. Every single drone flight is auditable with an auto-redacted flight log available on the public safety agency’s website. We believe that our efforts to improve accountability and transparency will earn the trust of the public.
What’s on the horizon for Aerodome?
We will be deploying our services to six police departments in the next few months, starting with the Redondo Beach Police Department in Los Angeles.
In terms of fires, our long-term goal is to help prevent wildfires. Our drones would autonomously cover high-risk regions, utilizing cameras and thermal technology to hopefully detect fires within minutes of ignition. Early detection allows for a swift response that could prevent the spread of a wildfire altogether.
Any advice for other founders?
Fall in love with a problem, but never fall in love with a solution. I'm a big believer in intellectual honesty and if you keep that in mind, you’ll be able to see things clearly and prevent yourself from becoming too emotionally invested in a single way of doing something.
Fun fact: I met my co-founder Kenaniah when I took a 3 month coding bootcamp course through General Assembly and he was the lead instructor.
Thanks for reading Everywhere VC! Subscribe for free to receive new posts.