Monday, 06 July 2020 11:08

VAPAR raises $700,000 in seed funding Featured


Stormwater and sewerage pipelines infrastructure repair and maintenance provider VAPAR, which utilises artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to automate condition assessments, has raised $700,000 in seed funding.

Within two months, VAPAR’s seed funding round closed with a “diverse range of angel investors” in addition to Startmate and Australian VC, Blackbird Ventures, who are also investors in Canva, SafetyCulture and Culture Amp.

Speaking to the scalability of what VAPAR has built, Michael Batko, CEO of Startmate, said, “The VAPAR team are the first movers in this space and are pioneering the application of AI technology for the global critical services water market. We are very excited to be supporting the team on their international trajectory”.

Amanda Siqueira, CEO, and Michelle Aguilar, CTO, who co-founded the startup VAPAR in 2018 after witnessing first-hand the “tedious and time-consuming tasks” of manual video inspection, says VAPAR’s software, has allowed water utilities and local councils to reduce the time needed for inspection reviews from two weeks to two minutes, while reducing costs by more than 30%.

Siqueira said, “VAPAR has gone from strength to strength, as we’ve been able to solve a clear and complex problem for utilities and councils using the latest technologies, all while aligning with engineering standards that government organisations demand. We’re excited about our next phase of growth and working with our investors to address market demand.”

Aguilar said: “We have big things coming up on our technical roadmap and are excited to be growing our data science and engineering teams as we continue to serve new customers and expand the business.,” said Aguilar.

Siqueira and Aguilar say they plan to use the funds to hire locally and scale the business from Sydney.

This includes VAPAR’s most recent hire, Saeed Amirgholipour as Lead AI and Data Scientist.

Prior to joining VAPAR, Amirgholipour was an AI and Machine Learning Specialist at CSIRO’s Data61 and undertook his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Technology Sydney.

“Saeed has joined VAPAR at a critical time as the organisation steps up to the next level, and we look forward to delivering truly innovative engineering solutions to the asset management market as a team,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar said, “We have big things coming up on our technical roadmap and are excited to be growing our data science and engineering teams as we continue to serve new customers and expand the business.“

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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