Got Weather Alerts? Ping4 Raises $4M for Emergency Push App

2/11/13Follow @curtwoodward

There was no avoiding the news about this past weekend’s epic snowstorm in the Northeast. But if you wanted to stay on top of all the weather alerts, travel bans, and other major government announcements, the Ping4Alerts mobile app was a pretty good way to do so.

And as of today, the Nashua, NH-based company behind that app officially has another $4 million in angel investment to expand its service. Ping4 Inc. says it has now raised nearly $7 million in private investment during the past two years. It didn’t name the investors in the newest round.

Ping4’s app targets a smartphone user’s location to push alerts from agencies like the National Weather Service, which sends out urgent updates on severe weather around the clock.

In the past, these kind of alerts were typically seen mostly by other government officials and people running breaking news coverage. But the proliferation of location-aware smartphones makes it pretty efficient to get a targeted set of weather alerts when things are getting serious, like they did this past weekend or during Hurricane Sandy last year.

I actually used the Ping4 app in both situations. It did a good job keeping me up to date on the latest weather alerts—meaning I didn’t have to watch the hyperventilating on TV news to get new information.

The app has other features, including everyday alert uses like getting discounts on local shopping. Thankfully, these alerts are opt-in—they’re not cluttering up my phone screen unless I ask for it.

Users can also adjust how close the app will target their location. This is useful to conserve battery life, since having the app constantly communicating its location can drain power pretty steadily. I used it on the default middle setting, but definitely noticed some more intense battery drain when the app was activated.

The company says its app also allows users to send information back to authorities, which could be useful in emergency weather or crime situations, such as when a child abduction alert is being broadcast to the public.

“The future of disaster management is putting life-saving information in the hands of the public at the intersection of ‘right here and right now,’” Ping4 CEO Jim Bender said in a press release.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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    The market place for Apps is huge and grown beyond expectations, and it is always good to see an app which is at the very least useful, possibly a life saver. I will be downloading this app for my iphone..good work ping4alerts !