Startup Spotlight is an ongoing series that profiles Canadian wireless and mobile technology startups.
This month, we spoke with Karine Samson, Founder of Optimal Efficiency. The company provides a comprehensive project management software supporting the lifecycle of any type of project, from the conception to completion. Their patent pending technology optimizes key performance indicators for major industries such as construction, mining, oil & gas, military and logistics.
Tell us about your background and what inspired you to found Optimal Efficiency?
My background is in civil engineering. After university I began working for a general contractor in Quebec City where most of the work took place in remote areas of the Arctic. Throughout my career I’ve spent most of my time working in the field gaining extensive experience as a project manager and engineer. It was during this time that I became increasingly aware of the high level of inefficiencies present on job sites and the lack of communication between all parties involved in the construction process. To address these issues, I decided to build a system that could tackle the various challenges in the construction, mining, and oil & gas industries. I knew that if there was a powerful system in place, most of the common inefficiencies, mistakes and losses could be avoided.
Explain the essence of your product and what benefits it provides.
Optimal Efficiency’s software is designed to ensure projects are running at optimal yield. Our proprietary solution provides predictive analysis, full visualization of project progress and real-time risk management for deviations. The system covers the entire spectrum of a project from conception to completion. It also includes communication tools to ensure all parties receive specific information that’s relevant to them.
Different levels of access are offered for different users involved in the project delivery process – the management team, project managers, subcontractors, foremen, superintendents, architects, engineers, and so on. This ensures everyone involved in the project is on the same page with all information housed in a single location. Our solution enables all levels of management to have access to relevant data in real-time and be informed of any potential deviations.
Predictive analysis improves the decision-making process, enabling corrective actions can be taken proactively. Inefficiencies can also be substantially reduced with the integration of the artificial intelligence functionalities.
The benefits of this system include risk mitigation and significant minimization of inefficiencies that ultimately translate into greater profit margins.
What role has Wavefront played in your journey to date?
Wavefront has been very beneficial to Optimal Efficiency in a number of ways. Through the IRAP Program, Wavefront connected us with a team of technical experts in the wireless sector who have provided great advice and support. This program also enabled us to attain funding support for further business development.
Wavefront’s many assistance programs, resources, expertise and networking opportunities make it a great community to join! We’ve connected with many business opportunities as a result of introductions from the Wavefront team. We may also participate in a Global Market Entry Program in 2018 to export our solution worldwide.
We are currently stationed in Wavefront’s Vancouver office space. Being in an environment with other thriving startups is definitely an environment we enjoy being in!
“Becoming part of the Wavefront community has been one of the best decisions we’ve made for our company.”
What developments do you see for project management and the industries you service over the next 5-10 years?
The combination of data analytics, machine learning and augmented reality technology will dramatically change the construction, mining and oil & gas industries in future years. We have integrated all of these technologies into the Optimal Efficiency platform. A few years ago, the industry was quite slow in adapting these new technologies, but current market research indicates that now is the ideal timing for industry adoption of these technologies. In less than two years, we believe that expected market conditions will force a major shift in these industries. We’ve designed the Optimal Efficiency platform to not only support this future, but be the standard going forward.
From your time leading the company, is there any advice you would share in the face of challenge?
Never shy away from asking questions. I have found that the door is often open if you need advice, but you have to be willing to ask. Also, surround yourself with excellent business advisors and mentors. I’m a big believer in surrounding yourself people smarter than you.
Building a productive organizational culture can often be a challenge as well. On our team, I encourage thoughtful disagreement and advocate for a no-Ego approach. Work to build a team with complementary strengths and establish high standards for delivery from the get-go. Have a growth mindset to ensure you are always thinking ahead, and steer the company in that direction.
When it comes to growing the company, take time to assess your options, but then don’t be afraid to make your decision and take action!
Why did you select BC for the home of your company?
The province encourages innovation and because of the support available, we’ve been able to access many arms of support in areas like market research, competitive analysis and business planning. We’re very thankful to one major contributor to our business’ rapid growth: BC-IRAP. They have provided continuous assistance to our company with its highly skilled and experienced industrial technical advisory team. Without the support from BC-IRAP, Optimal Efficiency would not currently be at the stage it’s at!
Any upcoming launches or news about Optimal Efficiency that you would like to share?
We launched the commercial release of our platform this year! Check our website www.optimalefficiency.net to stay up to date on further development.