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New Brunswick Startup TotalPave Makes Waves in India

New Brunswick’s TotalPave allows paving engineers to collect standard road condition data using smartphones, shedding themselves of the need for expensive high-speed data collection vehicles. Engineers can then use this data to make better paving decisions, resulting in better conditioned roads at lower costs.

CEO and Co-Founder Coady Cameron recently returned home from India where he took part in a federally-organized trade mission. An initiative of Global Affairs Canada via the High Commission of Canada in Delhi, the Smart Cities Mission to India brought Canadian companies to New Delhi and Bengaluru.

Cameron says TotalPave’s technology received plenty of interest in India, a country increasingly focused on improving infrastructure in its fast-growing urban centres.

ONB spoke to Cameron to learn more.

ONB: Tell us about the India experience. What were your takeaways, and did TotalPave return with any potential clients or partners?

Cameron: Absolutely. We made several connections and we’re now in the process of setting up a pilot project with one of the companies we met. There’s also a pool of four others we’re now in active talks with. The mission was a definite success on the business development side of things. We also learned a lot about how business works in India. There are certainly some notable differences.

ONB: Let’s expand on that point. What can you tell us about doing business in India?

Cameron: We were told on multiple occasions that for a company like ours to do business in India we have to be willing to take a lower contract value. The thing is, however, you can then take advantage of the scale of the country from there. I had one very interested person tell me flat out that they wanted high technology at very low cost. We were assured that you can then recoup that initial loss due to the sheer scale of India’s larger centres. Delhi for example has around 30 million people in its metro and surrounding area. Compare that to the 36 million people in all of Canada and you see the difference in potential.

ONB: Were you strictly meeting private sector players or were municipalities involved?

Cameron: There were no direct meetings with municipal players, but we met with a lot of companies that are essentially public/private partnerships or quasi-government organizations. The Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) is an example of this; they are involved with pretty much all aspects of Delhi transportation. DIMTS is a joint venture of the region’s government and a non-profit foundation.

ONB: The last time we spoke we discussed your initial pilot project from summer 2015. What has happened with your municipal early adopters since then?

Cameron: Summer 2016 saw us complete another successful project with five municipal clients in Atlantic Canada. We have since added demos in Australia, Indonesia, Brazil, and now India. A lot of that business has come via inbound leads from our website, so that’s encouraging. People are finding us.

We’re now gearing up for a road show of sorts; we will be attending four of the larger municipal shows this spring and summer. That is being facilitated for us by Opportunities NB and we are very grateful for your team’s continued support.

The plan is for our Business Development VP Brad Woodside and I to travel to these events together, just as we did with India. As you know, Brad has been in municipal politics for over 30 years and recently finished up as President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. He has given multiple presentations on smart cities and how the City of Fredericton, while he was Mayor, was able to become one of the World’s Top 7 Intelligent Communities. It should be an exciting summer for us.

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Cover image via _ChrisUK