Imagine a better traffic flow to maximise efficiency in major infrastructure projects. That’s the kind of outcome that has underpinned new company capital raise of $5 million and tripled its staff in just three months.
Increasing efficiency in how we deliver infrastructure projects can not only reduce disruptions and emissions at the time, but ultimately create the room for more public transport and other emissions-saving projects down the line.
This is the mission of tech startup Mooven, which now boasts a role in two thirds of 165 major road and rail projects associated with Victoria’s Big Build initiative, including a major contract with the state’s Department of Transport.
With already a foothold in most of Australia’s capital cities and a track record of reducing project delivery times on average by 10-15 per cent, the company recently raised $5 million in capital to help fund its vision for global expansion.
New Zealand-based chief executive and co-founder Micah Gabriels explained that much of the cost and inefficiency associated with major works comes from well-intentioned restrictions on how projects are allowed to function to minimise disruptions to traffic, business and the general public.
“If we could get everyone to leave Sydney for like two years and then they can just do all of these types of major projects that are going on, they could do it really quickly and efficiently,” he said.
Instead, constraints are placed on projects that tend to be fairly rigid and often based on an outdated understanding of how an area functions.
Mooven’s subscription software incorporates data from a range of sources such as traffic flow, to provide contractors and government with a better picture of when and where they should operate, ultimately increasing the number of hours they can spend on site.
Around two thirds of the company’s customers are the asset owners themselves such as state transport authorities, with the rest being contractors such as Downer Group, Lendlease, and Transurban and consultants like GHD and WSP.
Updating the industry’s insight from the old rubber tubes used for counting the cars that drive over the top of them, to real time GPS data, gives greater context for organising projects.
“Google Maps is a big one which we use. Everyone’s walking around with a phone with GPS in it which is broadcasting their location, a lot of vehicles are now connected to that as well. So we find that data source amazingly useful,” Mr Gabriels explained.
“We had a project in Melbourne in a particular part of the city that wasn’t busy in the morning, but had a really bad afternoon peak. Just shifting the work window by like two hours earlier, gave them 40 per cent more productive time in the day.”
Other limits on construction activities, such as creating dust and noise, are also handled in a way which considers actual impact more than blanket rules and unnecessary caveats.
The software also provides an evidence base for when complaints arise, to demonstrate to stakeholders whether there is a genuine issue, or if not and work can continue.
“All of this materially changes the economics of how you deliver these projects,” Mr Gabriels said.
The company has more than tripled its staff size in just the past three months and now has 20 employees in Australian and New Zealand, with plans currently to expand to the US, beginning with the west coast.
Mr Gabriels sees big potential to make cities function better and more sustainably, from emissions reductions to social equity, by increasing project efficiency,
“Where we’re starting to move into in the US, Californian cities are completely car dependent and need to move away from that, but they can’t afford to do the work because it’s just too disruptive and it’s too costly,” he said.
“Even in Australia, we’re dealing with both New South Wales and Victoria a lot and they’ve got so much work to do, they physically cannot do it in the time they need to. And so they’re just stuck and they know they need to change.”
“So a lot of inefficiency occurs because we don’t get to be able to do the work which needs to occur, and then that prevents us from moving forward.”