Startup in Residence behind the scenes:

The birth of a Startup in Residence challenge with the Province of South Holland

Benches, roads, waterways, cycle paths and bridges, we see and use them every day. It seems obvious, but there is an organization that maintains these assets: the infrastructure management department of the Province of South Holland. Keeping track of these objects, spread over hundreds of kilometres, is a challenging task. Do startups have innovative solutions to make this huge endeavour easier? This was one of the challenges for Startup in Residence South Holland.

We spoke to Joris Luyt, a Startup in Residence Challenge Owner and the coordinator and advisor of the asset-information team of the Province of South Holland. He was looking for an innovative solution to simplify the maintenance of asphalt and make it more sustainable. To help achieve this, Joris entered into a partnership with Startup in Residence, his challenge: how can we determine the ideal maintenance moment for asphalt roads by means of data analysis?

Maintenance of all asphalt roads in the Province of South Holland

Several startups applied for the challenge and came up with innovative ideas for solutions. Joris states: “Roughly two types of solutions emerged from the submissions. Some offered exactly what we had in mind. They knew that there is data available about the roads, their use and about the weather. By analyzing this data, answers to the questions we posed could be found. On the other hand, some companies came up with new ways of collecting data, for example by placing sensors under a car to scan road conditions or by analyzing satellite images. We found it difficult to choose between these two solutions and therefore decided to collaborate with two startups!”

So, Joris got started with two young companies. Geronimo.AI, which employs four aerospace engineering students from Delft, was chosen to build the data machine  that the team had in mind. For the alternative data acquisition method, a company with knowledge about satellite images called RoadEO was selected.

Bron: Geronimo.AI

Why a SIR challenge can be an ideal solution

The asset-information team had a rough idea for how they could predict asphalt maintenance with data, but it wasn’t thought out enough to be able to commission a company to execute the project. An option for them was to work with data scientists from the province but the team’s primary focus is on maintaining the infrastructure and not on developing data predictions.

So a gap emerged where a startup could step in and the cooperation with SIR started there. Without a tight tendering procedure, there was room to explore the challenge and to discover the possibilities together. And because of this, it feels like a win-win situation for both parties.

Innovative startup? Register and participate!

Are you part of a startup with innovating ideas and do you want to participate in a SIR challenge? The registration of the next program will start in November! Keep an eye on our socials for new challenges.