in-class safety

Houston company forms strategic alliance to enhance tech-enabled school security

School security emergency notification systems just got an upgrade. Photo via Getty Images

Students are back to school, and parents are back to worrying about their children's safety. Two companies have teamed up to enhance on-campus safety technology.

Houston-based Raptor Technologies, a school safety software provider, and Baltimore-based Alertus Technologies, provider of emergency mass notification solutions, announced earlier this month they will team up with their respective technologies to integrate enhance safety and security offerings in K-12 schools and districts.

The partnership, according to a news release, takes Alertus’ notification solutions and combines it with Raptor’s emergency management and reunification tools. Alertus’ tech includes Alertus Desktop, IP Text-to-Speech Interface for PA systems, and a range of hardwired and pocket-sized activation devices. With the integration, K-12 schools utilizing Raptor Technologies can automatically send emergency notifications to all alerting modalities unified by the Alertus Mass Notification System on Raptor Connect.

“School districts across the country are recognizing the value of being able to quickly initiate an alert and notify staff and teachers in the event of a school emergency,” says Chris Noell, chief product officer of Raptor Technologies, in the release. “By integrating with Alertus, we’re expanding the ways users can rapidly access Raptor Alert to trigger an alert and increasing the ways a campus can be notified of an emergency.”

Several states, including Texas, Florida, New Jersey and New York, have emphasized funding or mandates to make mobile panic alerts available to schools.

“Every second counts in an emergency and our top priority is ensuring that schools have every possible way to get urgent, life-saving information to their students, teachers and staff – both during and after a critical event,” says Patrick Dennin, director of education at Alertus, in the release. “Our integration with Raptor enables schools to alert, respond, and recover more effectively by reducing response times, reinforcing stakeholder responsibilities and mitigating risk to their communities.”

Over 7,500 schools nationwide are on Raptor's alert platform. Founded in 2002 and with over 100 employees at the company, Raptor Technologies received private equity funding and made a strategic international acquisition last year, InnovationMap reported.

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Building Houston

 
 

Juliana Garaizar is now the chief development and investment officer at Greentown Labs, as well as continuing to be head of the Houston incubator. Image courtesy of Greentown

The new year has brought some big news from Greentown Labs.

The Somerville, Massachusetts-based climatetech incubator with its second location at Greentown Houston named a new member to its C-suite, is seeking new Houston team members, and has officially finished its transition into a nonprofit.

Juliana Garaizar, who originally joined Greentown as launch director ahead of the Houston opening in 2021, has been promoted from vice president of innovation to chief development and investment officer.

"I'm refocusing on the Greentown Labs level in a development role, which means fundraising for both locations and potentially new ones," Garaizar tells InnovationMap. "My role is not only development, but also investment. That's something I'm very glad to be pursuing with my investment hat. Access to capital is key for all our members, and I'm going to be in charge of refining and upgrading our investment program."

While she will also maintain her role as head of the Houston incubator, Greentown Houston is also hiring a general manager position to oversee day-to-day and internal operations of the hub. Garaizar says this role will take some of the internal-facing responsibilities off of her plate.

"Now that we are more than 80 members, we need more internal coordination," she explains. "Considering that the goal for Greentown is to grow to more locations, there's going to be more coordination and, I'd say, more autonomy for the Houston campus."

The promotion follows a recent announcement that Emily Reichert, who served as CEO for the company for a decade, has stepped back to become CEO emeritus. Greentown is searching for its next leader and CFO Kevin Taylor is currently serving as interim CEO. Garaizar says the transition is representative of Greentown's future as it grows to more locations and a larger organization.

"Emily's transition was planned — but, of course, in stealth mode," Garaizar says, adding that Reichert is on the committee that's finding the new CEO. "She thinks scaling is a different animal from putting (Greentown) together, which she did really beautifully."

Garaizar says her new role will include overseeing Greentown's new nonprofit status. She tells InnovationMap that the organization originally was founded as a nonprofit, but converted to a for-profit in order to receive a loan at its first location. Now, with the mission focus Greentown has and the opportunities for grants and funding, it was time to convert back to a nonprofit, Garaizar says.

"When we started fundraising for Houston, everyone was asking why we weren't a nonprofit. That opened the discussion again," she says. "The past year we have been going through that process and we can finally say it has been completed.

"I think it's going to open the door to a lot more collaboration and potential grants," she adds.

Greentown is continuing to grow its team ahead of planned expansion. The organization hasn't yet announced its next location — Garaizar says the primary focus is filling the CEO position first. In Houston, the hub is also looking for an events manager to ensure the incubator is providing key programming for its members, as well as the Houston innovation community as a whole.

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