Headquartered in Chennai, internet-of-things (IoT) startup DeTect Technologies has raised $3.3 million in Series A funding, led by SAIF Partners. The round also saw participation from the Keiretsu Forum, BlueHill Capital, Axilor Ventures, and Bharath Innovation Fund.
The funds will be used for international expansion, and to build the manufacturing capabilities needed for mass production of the startup’s patented technology products, NOCTUA and GUMPS. The two products aim to boost the productivity of industries by focusing on increasing efficiency and reducing opportunities for manual error. DeTect is also looking to double its employee count this year.
The startup was founded in 2013 in the IIT-Madras incubator by alumni Tarun Mishra, Daniel Raj David, Harikrishnan AS, Karthik R, and Professor Krishnan Balasubramanian. It began with the idea of becoming a global leader in asset integrity and monitoring solutions.
“The focus is on risk analysis across different industries, but predominately in the Oil and Gas sector,” Daniel said. He added, “By developing sensor technology, drone technology, image processing, and machine learning algorithms in India, our products focus on improving operational efficiencies for industries at large by helping them enhance monitoring, and increasing safety and accuracy.”
The fund raise will supplement the core R&D focus of the company, which currently has operations in Chennai, Bengaluru, Jamnagar, and UK.
What do the products do?
Speakaing about product development, Daniel said, “We built close to 15-20 different technological solutions, but realised that we wanted to focus on a product that would solve a core problem that could revolutionalise the sector. This got us to think of two problems – pipeline leakage and corrosion, and inspection of large volume assets.”
Speakaing about pipeline leakage and corrosion, Daniel said leakage not only causes productivity damage amounting to $1-2 million, but also has lasting environmental impact. “Many people lose their life due to pipeline explosions. Our research showed that there was no technology that could monitor pipeline integrity in real time and in temperatures beyond 100 degrees Celsius. Refineries have pipelines with temperatures that go over 200 degrees Celsius,” he added.
This leads to shutdowns; often, pipeline thickness needs to be checked at multiple points. This is an expensive and operationally intensive proposition.
Daniel said GUMPS is the first sensor that can monitor pipeline thickness change in real time with the help of machine learning algorithms. This, in turn, increases the efficiency of the inspection process. “A unique feature of the product is that it can operate at temperatures of up to 300 degrees Celsius. We can scan the whole structure and give exact data and updates,” Daniel said.
Focusing on patented technology
NOCTUA, on the other hand, is an industrial drone, which is tailor-made for process industry inspections. It conducts automated visual and thermal inspections of industrial infrastructureand significantly reduces maintenance and inspection efforts, including scaffoldings, etc.
Mridul Arora, Managing Director, SAIF Partners, in a press statement said, “We are very excited to partner with the DeTect team as they bring a rare combination of deep domain expertise, global market opportunity, and high entrepreneurial energy. Global oil and gas majors have flocked to DeTect to take advantage of their asset monitoring and inspection solutions, and we’re confident that the team will continue to expand its global footprint.”
Daniel explained that while they got the patent in 2013, they spent the last five years ensuring that the technology was robust and industrially ready. “We also got certifications to introduce it to a global market,” he said.
The startup aims to leverage high-end engineering talent, build deep technology, design cutting-edge infrastructure and create high-end patented solutions for asset risk monitoring and to estimate life predictions. They currently have orders within India and are also working with companies in the US, the UK, Portugal, and Singapore.
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