August 8, 2023
Villari Secures €2.5m Investment for Crack Detection in Vital Steel Structures
TU Delft spin-off Villari has announced its seed investment of €2.5 million by lead investor FORWARD.one and co-investors InnovationQuarter Capital and Delft Enterprises.
Villari successfully developed and demonstrated innovative sensor technology to detect and monitor small fractures or “fatigue cracks” in steel structures. The monitoring of even the tiniest cracks is crucially important for steel assets that experience intense loads, like bridges with frequent traffic, or industrial cranes lifting heavy weights around the clock. “The current standard of monitoring still involves an incredible amount of manual labor. For instance, several specialists are involved for multiple days to reliably examine a harbor crane for cracks. This makes the inspection process expensive and inefficient, not to mention the losses suffered through down-time of an asset that should operate 24/7”, says Olivier Baas, founder and CEO at Villari. Baas explains: “The industry has seen little innovation because available technologies are unable to detect cracks remotely with a comparable level of reliability.”.
During his graduation project at TU Delft, Baas developed a novel crack sensing technology to probe magnetic field variations in a steel structure. The resulting data is correlated to crack growth with high confidence, which customers can monitor at all times through a user-friendly dashboard. “Contrary to manual inspection, our customers can now unobstructedly operate their assets while crack data is continuously being acquired and at much lower costs, thereby optimizing their decision making process with regard to maintenance or replacement”, Baas comments.
Villari’s sensor solution is patented and already installed at several customers, safeguarding assets including bridges owned by the Dutch Government and several industrial cranes at harbors and steel manufacturing sites in Europe.
“The growing number of aged bridges and industrial cranes that will inevitably show crack formation demonstrates the need for an alternative that is much more scalable than the current status quo”, says Paul Pruijmboom, managing partner at FORWARD.one. “With their installed base of sensors, Villari has proven to hold a feasible and more affordable solution.”
The next step is to ignite scaling through global roll-out of the technology. An important part herein is to set-up collaborations with large maintenance companies, and, together with COO Floris Achterberg, to expand the team with engineers and sales talents. Pruijmboom concludes: “We are very excited to join Villari in their journey, and we are confident that the investment will support them in changing an industry that is ready for innovation.”
Villari is a tech startup based in Delft, The Netherlands, and develops solutions to reliably measure and predict crack growth in steel structures. The company was founded in 2019 and was built on previous investments by Delft Enterprises and business angel David Cerda Salzmann and with support from proof-of-concept fund UNIIQ. Villari is managed by Olivier Baas (founder and CEO) and Floris Achterberg (COO). www.villari.nl
FORWARD.one is a venture capital firm focused on deeptech hardware start-ups and scale-ups with €200 million under management including investments in robotics, semiconductors, photonics, sensors, extended reality and biomanufacturing. Having a team of financial professionals and entrepreneurs, FORWARD.one actively supports their portfolio companies to achieve their goals and ambitions. www.forward.one
About InnovationQuarter Capital
InnovationQuarter is one of the most active investors in The Netherlands. IQ funds disruptive startups & scale-ups in the province of Zuid-Holland that create a cleaner, smarter and healthier world. Acting as a lifecycle investor with four funds, the IQCapital (€ 143 million) fund has a particular focus on deeptech, life sciences & high-tech. IQCapital acts as a patient investor with an extensive network of over 250 co-investors and wide-ranging in-house knowledge on international expansion and innovation. www.innovationquarter.nl
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