Thursday, September 21, 2023

VAPAR, the Pipeline Inspection Startup Founded by Two Women Engineers, Just Raised a $2.5 Million Seed Round

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AI-based stormwater and sewage pipeline maintenance software VAPAR has raised AUD$2,500,000 in seed funding for its global expansion plans.

The increase was supported by LSE-listed Halma Ventures and Australian Sprint Ventures, Barry Winata’s Access Capital Ventures and Metagrove Ventures.

Female engineers, Amanda Siqueira, CEO, and Michelle Aguilar, CTO, co-founded VAPAR in 2018 after witnessing firsthand the tedious and time-consuming tasks of manual video inspection, which would enable critical asset management that otherwise it would take weeks to complete. done in minutes with a few clicks.

The company is already based in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, and the financing will drive further expansion in the UK and US markets.

Annual pipeline maintenance costs approximately A$88 billion worldwide, and VAPAR offers a proactive solution, with Siqueira noting that unscheduled reactive maintenance costs 4-5 times the price of preventive measures.

“Our customers have struggled for years with intense weather conditions, asset degradation and the rapid increase in the load on their pipeline network from the growing population and this is only going to get worse. Something has to happen, and when it does, it usually happens without warning,” she said.

“We have started a global sewer revolution to stop unexpected pipe failures. They pollute our waterways and wreak havoc on our communities and businesses when sewage flows into our properties. The data and technology are now available to build a sustainable way to manage our network. VAPAR is committed to unlocking this value together with our customers using smart deep learning. There is now a better way.”

A range of water companies now use VAPAR, including United Utilities in the UK. Network Business Manager Samantha Sloan said they were introduced to VAPAR in 2019 through their Innovation Lab program.

“We have worked closely with the team, helping them launch here in the UK and developing their product together to create impact in our business. Today we are rolling out VAPAR software in our pipe network programs to increase the efficiency of the end-to-end process,” she said.

“Via VAPAR’s software, we are quickly accessing thousands of kilometers of data from our video inspections that were previously only available by having someone watch”.

Aguilar said they will also use the Seed funds to hire local staff, especially in data science and software development, and further scale the company. Most of the money will be used for recruitment.

“We are seeing exponential growth in the number of inspections we process and are currently delivering more than 100,000 meters of pipeline inspections per month within minutes of upload, completely self-service,” she said.

“Our team has developed an ambitious roadmap to add more groundbreaking features and deliver further efficiencies and meet increasing customer demand.”

Managing Partner of Sprint Ventures Llew Jury said they were impressed with VAPAR’s focus on innovation and the team’s ability to deliver substantial productivity gains and insight to critical infrastructure managers.

“Sprint is built on the belief that extraordinary founders can build a better future, and Amanda and Michelle are the embodiment of that vision,” he said.

“Frustrated with outdated practices and convinced that they could use their qualifications and technology to do better, they are now leading innovation in pipeline maintenance. With our strong ESG asset values, we are excited to invest in their continued growth.”

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