VAPAR, the pipeline inspection startup founded by two female engineers, just raised a $2.5 million Seed round
AI-based stormwater and sewer maintenance software VAPAR has raised A$2,500,000 in seed capital for its global expansion plans.
The capital raise was backed by LSE-listed Halma Ventures and Barry Winata’s Australian Sprint Ventures, Access Capital Ventures and Metagrove Ventures.
Engineers Amanda Siqueira, CEO, and Michelle Aguilar, CTO, founded VAPAR in 2018 after witnessing first-hand the tedious and time-consuming tasks of manual video inspection that enable critical asset management that would otherwise take weeks in just a few weeks done in minutes with just a few clicks.
The company is already established in Australia, New Zealand and the UK and the funding will fuel further expansion in the UK and US markets.
Maintaining the pipeline annually costs around A$88 billion worldwide and VAPAR offers a proactive solution Siqueira noting that unplanned reactive maintenance costs 4 to 5 times the cost of preventive maintenance.
“Our customers have been struggling with intense weather events, asset deterioration and the rapid increase in the load on their grids from growing populations for years, and this will only get worse. Something has to give way, and when it does, it usually happens without warning,” she said.
“We started a global wastewater revolution to prevent unexpected pipe failures. They pollute our waterways and wreak havoc on our communities and businesses when wastewater leaks into properties. The data and technology are now available to build a sustainable way of managing our network. VAPAR is committed to unlocking this value with our customers through intelligent deep learning. There is a better way now.”
A number of water utilities are now using 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 get to market here in the UK and co-developing their product to make an impact in our business. Today we are introducing VAPAR’s software into our pipe network programs to increase the efficiency of the end-to-end process,” she said.
“Using VAPAR’s software, we are quickly unlocking thousands of miles of data from our previous video inspections only available when someone is looking at it”.
Aguilar said they will also use the seed funds to hire locally, particularly in data science and software development, and continue to scale the business. Most of the funds are used for new hires.
“We’re seeing exponential growth in the amount of inspections we’re processing and are currently delivering over 100,000 meters of pipeline inspections per month within minutes of upload, all on our own,” she said.
“Our team has put together an ambitious roadmap to add more groundbreaking features, achieve 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 significant productivity gains and insights for critical infrastructure managers.
“Sprint was built on the belief that exceptional founders can build a better future, and Amanda and Michelle embody that vision,” he said.
“Frustrated with outdated practices and believing they could use their skills and technology to do better, they are now at the forefront of pipeline maintenance innovation. With our strong ESG assets, we look forward to investing in their continued growth.”