VEERUM helps bring certainty to capital project delivery

Apr 26, 2018

By 2040, the world needs to spend $94 trillion on infrastructure to meet global demand. Calgary-based VEERUM hopes to play a role in that massive undertaking by creating technologies to reduce cost and schedule risks and serve as a single source of truth between project stakeholders. No more contingency budgets to cover rework, unforeseen delays in construction, wasted materials or time spent correcting avoidable mistakes.

VEERUM’s Digital Twin platform creates an exact digital replica of a project’s physical reality –throughout design, fabrication and construction – in a format that can compare digital objects with physical objects. The technology currently serves clients in the oil and gas industry but has applications elsewhere, such as hydropower, mining and industrial construction.

Since inception, VEERUM has made major strides. Its co-founders – Amit Varma, Scott Benesh and Steve Fisher – left their careers in the engineering, project management and construction industries and came together in 2015. Their goal was simple: use their capital project experience to build a technology-based solution to the costly problems in project delivery.

By 2016, the company had made key strategic connections in the innovation ecosystem. These connections included Calgary Technologies (formerly Innovate Calgary), whose Kinetica Ventures served as an entry point to mentorship and support.

“We found solid value in commercialization support by Kinetica,” said Amit Varma. “Our mentors helped us find gaps, proactively worked to fill them, connected us to the right support services and even referred us to investors and government when we needed it. While everyone says they do it, Kinetica actually did it.”

VEERUM was also able to take advantage of three separate Alberta Innovates (AI) funding streams: our Innovation Vouchers, Industry Commercialization Associates and Product Demonstration programs. Our Technology Development Advisor (TDA) Michael Kerr also provided crucial support in areas such as business planning and development, strategy and restructuring.

“Alberta Innovates directly supported us through building our team and expertise, including commercialization planning,” said Steve Fisher. “They also provided us with the grants we needed to get to an exciting growth stage, which was made possible through this immense support.”

In 2017, working with AI Executive Business Advisor Mark Blackwell, private backing was secured from several sources, including Brick and Mortar Venture Capital, Blackhorn and Creative Ventures, all based in Silicon Valley.

“The entire VEERUM team is incredibly grateful to Alberta Innovates for facilitating Mark as our Executive Business Advisor. He was instrumental in helping our strategy to raise capital and coached us on pitching and pitch decks,” Steve added.

In April 2018, VEERUM announced it had raised a combined $6 million through various private and government sources. In addition to AI, this includes the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), Cenovus and TECTERRA, one of AI’s Centres for Research and Innovation. The company has also been nominated for or won several high-profile awards, from the ASTech Foundation, GE and Propel Energy Forum.

On its path from concept to commercialization, VEERUM has created 25 full-time positions for Albertans and is currently valued at over $17 million. The company’s trajectory shows how a team with big ideas, a lot of leg work and a supportive innovation system can put our province on the map.