Sydney-based startup VAPAR has been the successful recipient of the NSW Government’s Minimum Viable Product (MVP) grants scheme, which is open for applications yet again to start-ups for the 2020 financial year.
VAPAR used the MVP grant to develop artificial intelligence-based technology that identifies faults in stormwater and sewerage pipelines.
Founded by Amanda Siqueira and Michelle Aguilar, VAPAR said the grant allowed it to build the beta version of its product and experiment with different approaches.
“This led to our first paid projects that resulted in wider customer adoption,” Siqueira said.
“Our technology means local councils and water utilities can upload CCTV footage of pipeline inspections to a cloud platform for automatic analysis instead of engineers having to manually review hours of footage. Our system cuts a two week process to a few minutes, reduces inspection costs by 30 per cent, and allows on site repairs to be carried out straight after the inspection.”
Under the grants program, successful start-up applicants that develop technology-enabled products can receive matched funding of up to 50 per cent of their project costs up to a maximum of $25,000 to support them to develop their prototype and assess how it can meet market demand, Minister for jobs, investment, tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said.
“NSW is home to nearly half of Australia's start-up founders and we want to help them grow their businesses and create more future-focused jobs,” he said.
“We want promising NSW entrepreneurs to have the confidence to launch a startup by giving them the support they need to give it the best chance of success.”
Specifically, the MVP grants are open to startups that are developing technology-enabled new products with scalable business models.
“Funding is provided to help develop the solution to a stage where it can be demonstrated to potential paying customers. MVP grants are a competitive process and applicants will be evaluated on the strength of their business model, innovative use of technology and potential economic benefits such as jobs that can be created, or export potential,” he said.