Traditional nondestructive testing methods (NDT) in the oil, gas and mining industries has it’s downfalls. Even with extensive safety measures in place, inspecting tanks and work sites can be dangerous to onsite inspectors for a variety of reasons such as potential falls, toxic or explosive environments, excessive heat and lack of oxygen.
Is it possible develop a way to increase testing and inspection safety while reducing operation time and costs? Because of Avestec Inc., it’s already a reality.
Avestec develops tethered flying robots for safe inspection of hazardous and hard-to-reach spaces. These drones can inspect a wide variety of industrial assets, including storage tanks, ship tanks, offshore platforms, wind turbines and industrial cranes, which means a multitude of sectors are benefiting from Avestec’s technology. Traditional NDT testing methods involve installation of scaffolding or require rope access to the structures, which can be be very expensive – Avestec eliminates this cost. Given the broad and efficient application of their technology it’s no surprise that the company has garnered interest from companies like Shell, Chevron and BP, and are also in talks with nuclear power plants and chemical manufacturing industries.
In 2018, Avestec participated in Innovate BC’s Venture Acceleration Program through our partners at Foresight. Through the program, they connected with a group of business and technology mentors and experts to help validate and develop their idea into a business.
We caught up with Reza Tavakoli, President and CEO of Avestec, to explore the impact of our program and find out what’s next for his company.
Q: What do you do, and why are you passionate about it?
Reza: At Avestec, we are developing flying tethered robots for inspection. Conventional methods such as rope access and scaffolding are expensive, time consuming and more importantly, unsafe. We offer Intelligent Robotic Inspection to fulfill all asset inspection requirements including surface inspection (e.g. ultrasound thickness measurement). We eliminate human risks for asset inspection. My passion is employing intelligent robots to do the hard/dangerous jobs instead of putting people in danger.
Q: What stage was your startup in when you entered the Venture Acceleration Program? What problems or business challenges were you trying to solve?
Reza: We started working with Foresight in fall 2018 when we were working on our product for industrial testing. In a hardware/software start-up company like Avestec, you are dealing with a wide spectrum of challenges every day, from technical to financial. Foresight, with their great mentors and program, has helped us in different aspects, specifically with our business model and market approach.
Q: What made the Venture Acceleration Program stand out from other options?
Reza: Their structure, team and specifically our Executive in Residence (EIR), Mr. Kirk Hamilton. With his extensive tech-experience, he has brought a wonderful guidance in business model modification, market approach and financial strategy to Avestec. A trustful, knowledgeable and experienced advisor is priceless for every CEO.
Q: What are some updates or successes you can share?
Reza: We have shown great progress in both technology and business. We have recently captured great interest from big players in oil and gas including Shell, Chevron and BP in the US market. Those tractions validate our technology and position Avestec as one of the aerial robotic leaders for asset inspection in the energy sector.
Q: What’s the main reason you would recommend the Venture Acceleration Program?
Reza: The Program offer great workshops and consultancy through their mentors. Getting those services from a private third party would be unaffordable for most startups.
Q: What are some milestones you’re most looking forward to in the year ahead?
Reza: In the next 18 months, the main goal would be pushing the technology towards commercialization. Our goal is expanding our client portfolio and further technology adoption for the key clients in the market. This will substantially increase our revenue, mitigate the risk for technology adoption, and provide the opportunity to expand our market to outside North America and beyond the oil and gas sector.
Learn more about how our Venture Acceleration Program can connect you to a group of business and technology experts to take your idea further.