A 29-year-old CEO named to Forbes 30 under 30 shares his advice for young entrepreneurs

RapidSOS, a New York-based startup that’s modernising the way people connect with emergency services, is growing quick.

Their smartphone app Haven, which allows users to transmit their exact location to emergency dispatchers, was launched in June 2016 and the company expects to be in a million devices by the end of this year.

RapidSOS’s founder Michael Martin was recently named to the 2017 Forbes’ 30 under 30 list for healthcare.

The 29-year-old entrepreneur told Business Insider his idea for the app was inspired by a “quintessential New York experience.”

“I was walking home late at night when I noticed that someone was following me,” he said.

“I didn’t want to attract attention by dialling 911 on my phone, so I ended up calling an Uber,” he added.

And that’s when it hit him. Contacting 911 should be just as easy as getting an Uber.

The main selling point of the app, however, isn’t its convenience. Martin said it addresses some of the issues that underpin the emergency dispatch infrastructure.

“The system was built back when landlines were king and so it’s not well equipped to handle cell phones,” he said.

“Over 10,000 people die a year because calls drops or dispatchers can’t accurately pinpoint a person’s location,” Martin added.

Martin told Business Insider that his entrepreneurial journey wasn’t a cake walk, and that it took almost four years to bring the product to market.

In addition to raising hundreds of thousands of dollars from various student entrepreneurial contests including the Harvard Innovation Challenge, Martin said he and his team had over 10,000 conversations with industry experts.

We asked Martin to share his best advice for young aspiring entrepreneurs. He said they should consider three things:

Importance of passion. When you’re starting a company there are so many ups and downs and tons of challenges. If it’s not something you’re passionate about, you’re going to be miserable.

Take on a big problem. I always encourage my younger peers to avoid anything that’s too comfortable. If you’re too comfortable, then you’re not being challenged. Do something that’s different and that will make difference.

It’s not all about disruption. The notion of disruption is very in vogue these days. But from my experience, it’s not always about disrupting an existing industry but partnering with it and then improving it.

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