Everyone Deserves the Best Chance of Survival- LaaSer

May 19, 2016

When an emergency occurs, you want to know and trust that someone can get to you as soon as possible to help. That used to be the case, but with the majority of calls being placed to 911 now coming from cell phones- location detection has become increasingly difficult. Even HBO's Tonight with John Oliver observes, nearly everyone takes the system for granted – unaware of its fatal flaws. Thousands of lives are lost each year due to incorrect location information being sent to 911 operators over existing mobile phone network technology. Calls are often routed to the wrong jurisdiction, address and latitude and longitude information are often wrong or not provided at all, and people lose their lives or suffer more than they had to as a result.Founder Fred White created LaaSer for the sole purpose of solving this problem. Learn more from our conversation below.

What is LaaSer?

In simplest terms, LaaSer is the solution to the deadly problem that when you call 911 from a cell phone, the 911 dispatcher has no idea where you are.

What gave you the idea for this technology?

Once my co-founder and I became aware of the problem, and the impact it was having in people’s lives, we really had no choice but to try to find a solution. More directly, it was due in large part to the story of an Atlanta woman who lost her life in a sinking car while on the phone with 911 desperately trying to explain to them where she was. That really lit a fire under us to find a solution and do everything we possibly could to make sure that we get the solution out into everyone’s hands.

What traction do you have with LaaSer?

At this point we’ve finished our seed round of financing – though it seems like Series A is already breathing down our necks – and we’ve made great strides at the federal level with the FCC, not only having them accept LaaSer as a potential solution but then having them add me to their own council that they formed to help make recommendations about the very problems we’re trying to solve. We’ve also received a tremendous amount of media attention, with local TV news segments about LaaSer having now appeared in over 20 cities around the country. In fact, one of those stories that aired right here in Atlanta just won the Peabody Award for news, one of the most prestigious awards in broadcast journalism.We’ve also secured our first round of pilot partners which includes cities, counties, and private companies who are going to work with us to get LaaSer into the hands of their citizens, employees, and customers. Announcements of those partners will roll out over the next few weeks.

How do you define being an entrepreneur?

I think for the longest time I would’ve answered this by saying, “a risk taker,” which somewhat left me out of the game. I’m not a risk taker by nature, and so I didn’t really think entrepreneurship was for me. Over time, I’ve come to see entrepreneurialism as being more about passion and belief in an idea than about the risk associated with trying to make that passion or belief become a reality. Sure, there’s some risk involved, but there’s risk in any job even if we try to convince ourselves that there isn’t. So, for me, being an entrepreneur is all about passionately pursuing something in which you believe fully…and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well that tends to go even in the face of adversity.

Any advice for other entrepreneurs?

If you’re doing it – whatever “it” is – simply because you think it’s time for you to do it, or because it’s cool, or because you want to put a checkmark in a box, don’t. You better want it bad. You better believe in it completely. If you can’t do those things, you’re not going to rally people to your cause, and you’ll need to. And you’re not going to make it through all the times it seems like you or the idea aren’t going to make it through, and you’ll need to. But, if you can do those things, you can and will succeed.

What do you love most about the Village?

Man, how do you pick just one? I’d say it’s the people, I’d say it’s the chance to interact with other entrepreneurs, I’d say it’s the support you feel, but really I guess all of that adds up to one thing: culture. People always talk about a company’s culture, but a place – or is that entity? – like the Village, has a culture, too. It’s a culture of mutual respect, optimism, commiseration when needed, and an entirety that comes together to make someone trying to change the world feel like they aren’t alone in that effort. You’re surrounded by others trying to do it, too, and the whole thing simply feels right.

We couldn't have said it better ourselves. =) Connect with Fred White to learn more about LaaSer technology: or on their website.

May 19, 2016
Karen Houghton