Guardhat, a Detroit-based startup that aims to protect construction workers with durable and safe helmets, has secured $20 million in a Series A funding round. The company announced the big funding round was led by RTP Ventures with significant help elsewhere from 3M Ventures, Caterpillar Ventures, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Silicon Valley Bank, and Detroit Venture Partners.
With construction accidents rising, the need for a startup like the Internet-enabled Guardhat is evident.
The latest census data for fatal accidents in the workplace shows that there were more than 5,000 such fatalities in the U.S. in 2016, a significant rise of 7% from the year before.
“When we started [GuardHat] in 2014, we had a problem in need of a solution,” Guardhat co-founder Anupam Sengupta said, according to a report from Xconomy.
Guarhat boasts a smart construction hat that is boosted with technology that uses software and Internet to track where workers are, try to predict any dangers in real time, and then alert them to the dangers around them.
“(It) helps address where a person is within a 3D space and shows the environment around them with context and biometrics,” CEO Saikat Dey told Xconomy. “For example, I can offer help remotely by looking through the [hardhat’s] camera and saying, ‘Turn that knob to the left.’ It runs analytics and gives a holistic view, and that information can be the difference between life and death.”
Guardhat currently employs two dozen workers and has raised $24 million to date. It has other sites in Boulder, Colorado; Paris; Chicago; and India.
Though the service is now offered privately through contracts with certain companies, it will soon be made available for commercial retail, according to the founders.