Delft-based Villari, a TU Delft spin-off and provider of wireless structural health monitoring technology, announced on Tuesday that it has secured €2.5M in a seed round of funding.
Villari says the funding will facilitate its technology refinement, team expansion, market entry, and intellectual property protection.
Investors in this round
FORWARD.one is a VC firm with €200M in assets under management and specialises in deeptech hardware startups. The firm supports companies in robotics, semiconductors, photonics, sensors, extended reality, and biomanufacturing with a team of experts.
InnovationQuarter is a Dutch investor that focuses on disruptive startups in Zuid-Holland that create a cleaner, smarter and healthier world. The firm’s €143M IQCapital fund specialises in deeptech, life sciences, and high-tech. They offer patient investment with a wide network and expertise in international expansion and innovation.
Wireless crack detection systems
Founded in 2019 by Olivier Baas, Villari has developed sensor tech that detects tiny fractures in steel structures, crucial for heavily loaded assets like bridges and industrial cranes. This ensures safety by closely monitoring structural integrity.
The company was built on previous investments by Delft Enterprises and business angel David Cerda Salzmann, and with support from the proof-of-concept fund UNIIQ.
Baas says, “The current standard of monitoring still involves an incredible amount of manual labour. For instance, several specialists are involved for multiple days to reliably examine a harbour 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.”
Baas adds, “The industry has seen little innovation because available technologies are unable to detect cracks remotely with a comparable level of reliability.”
Baas developed a crack detection device to explore magnetic field fluctuations in a steel structure as part of his degree research at TU Delft. The generated data is associated with crack growth, which clients can monitor at any time via a 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 optimising their decision-making process with regard to maintenance or replacement”, says Baas.
Villari’s sensor technology is patented and has already been installed for numerous clients, protecting assets such as bridges owned by the Dutch government and various industrial cranes at harbours and steel production sites around 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,” adds Pruijmboom.