TotalPave Preps for Autumn Launch
More than a year after capturing the $192,000 first prize in New Brunswick’s Breakthru competition, brothers Drew and Coady Cameron are deep into the development of their TotalPave product and preparing for a launch in the autumn.
It’s a smartphone app that helps municipalities and their contractors test road surfaces at a fraction of the current cost. It has drawn the attention of a few local governments and at least one private company, all of whom are impressed by its simplicity and cost-effectiveness.
The concept won the 2012 national Nicol Entrepreneurial Award for a new technology coming from a Canadian university, and the 2013 Breakthru competition, the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation’s biennial contest for the province’s top new startups.
In addition to winning several awards, TotalPave has just gone through the ACclr8 program at Planet Hatch in Fredericton, where their mentors were Jeff Thompson, the founder of UserEvents, and Ryan Strynatka, the chief adoption officer at Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
“What we’ve been doing in the last three months is a huge focus on development,” said Coady Cameron in an interview in Planet Hatch last week. He added that they have completed the first of three phases of the product’s development. “By September, we hope to have all three pieces done, and then we have to sell the thing.”
The Cameron brothers were students at the University of New Brunswick — Drew in business, Coady in engineering — when they got the idea for TotalPave. In the TotalPave system, the user mounts smartphones into standard municipal vehicles to collect data on road surfaces as these cars and trucks drive around on their customary routes. They relay this data to a central facility that automatically assesses it and reports on what roads need repair most acutely.
Getting such data is critical because a typical road will maintain its surface for several years, but once the roadway starts to break down it will do so quickly and dramatically. If a municipality detects the deterioration at the right time, it can make minor, inexpensive repairs promptly rather than paying a lot of money to repave the road.
According to the 2012 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card, 52 per cent of Canadian roads are in bad repair and it would cost an estimated $92 billion to repair them all.
Coady Cameron said the first phase of development involved the manual input of programs and logarithms, and this has been finished. The next phase involves mounting the phones in cars and collecting data. In the final phase, the company will complete its web portal.
TotalPave now has one full-time employee, Coady Cameron, and it has been contracting out the development. Under the company’s sales strategy, TotalPave will allow clients to download the app on as many phones as they want, and then the clients will pay every time they use the system.
The company is looking to secure its first clients, possibly starting with a private contractor, in the fall. That means they could test it before snow falls and spend the winter analyzing the data and working out any bugs.
The Cameron brothers so far have financed the development from their Breakthru winnings and a few government programs. They will consider whether they need to raise capital after they complete the development.