Inversa in US$2.5M Deal in Georgia

Oct 2018  •  Civil Infrastructure  •  Company News


Original article posted here.

In a breakthrough to the U.S. market, Fredericton-based Inversa Systems, whose technology can help to assess the state of infrastructure, has signed a three-year, US$2.5 million (C$3.3 million) agreement with the State of Georgia.

The company last year announced that it had signed a five-year, $2.5 million contract with the New Brunswick Department of Transportation to inspect culverts and storm drainage systems in the province over five years.

As well as being a strong source of revenue, that contract provided Inversa with customer validation that helped it to reach out to other jurisdictions. It helped to land the Georgia Department of Transportation contract, which includes an option for a two-year extension at the end of the allotted period.

“We needed a client who would be a beacon,” Dallas McCready, Inversa’s Vice-President of Business Development, said in an interview. “We’ve got that in New Brunswick and that helped us engage with clients in Canada.”

He added that the company is working with other Canadian jurisdictions, such as the provincial government in Quebec, and hopes to sign more contracts to establish further validation of its technology.

“Now Georgia will be the model client in the U.S. and we’re already well advanced with conversations with other departments of transportation in the United States. So we’re really starting to feel some wind in the sails and some excitement.”

The Fredericton company began in 2005, growing out of PhD research by co-founder Jake Arsenault, who has since moved on to found another company, The Black Arcs. Arsenault and Current CEO John Bowles developed a diagnostic imaging system that probes a structure to detect whether there has been erosion, corrosion or any other defect. The system uses backscattered radiation, which is similar to an x-ray, except the beams reflect back from the subject rather than pass through it. That means the Inversa system can be used from the surface of massive objects without having to dig them up.

McCready said the sales process often accelerates once the company gets in front of “the right people” – in other words, those who deal with storm systems and understand how they are deteriorating. The increase in harsh weather conditions means greater frequency and severity of storms, which can accelerate that deterioration. Meanwhile, government budgets are strapped and maintenance crews need to know how to prioritize repairs.

“It’s a question of asset management and constantly reprioritizing your assets and knowing where the biggest pain is,” said McCready. “If you have $5 million to invest, where is the best place to invest it?”

The company has made “excellent” progress with the New Brunswick contract, said McCready, completing the first year of the contract and establishing that the government received a return on its investment.

Inversa is now scaling its business and has a pipeline of dozens of potential clients. The company now has 11 employees in New Brunswick and will add people in the U.S. to work on the Georgia contract.