Bentley Systems Incorporated has announced the launch of iTwin Activate, a 20 week co-development programme designed to accelerate early-stage startups in infrastructure engineering software
The programme, which is organised in cohorts aligned to industry sectors, is managed by Bentley iTwin Ventures, a US$100mn corporate venture capital fund that fosters innovation by co-investing in startups and emerging companies. By utilising or collaborating with Bentley technology, the iTwin Activate programme assists startups in identifying and developing market-relevant solutions. This is done by providing financing for programme and co-development, assistance with solutions architecture, and access to Bentley executives for commercial insights.
Tom Kurke, Bentley’s vice-president of iTwin Ventures, said, “Our first cohort was a small, invitation-only group of four startups focused on the electric grid industry. We were excited to see the innovative solutions that the startups built incorporating our technology. The projects serve as powerful examples of new capabilities that arise from these collaborations, and in some cases we are already seeing our shared users benefit from these new tools and the efficiencies they unlock.”
The first cohort included four startups: Spatial Data.AI, Virtual Technology Simplified, Rebase Energy, and SurPlus Maps. Spatial Data AI’s solution automates the processing of LiDAR data from point clouds into ready-to-use vector formats, including SPIDAcalc models and various other CAD formats. This project focused on building a connector to Bentley’s pole analysis solution (SPIDAcalc).
Spatial Data founder Doug Culbert said, “Participating in the iTwin Activate program supported the automated development of a design-centric digital twin for electrical distribution and telecommunications companies. The outcome of this initiative advanced our technical solution and expanded our service offerings in these markets. Spatial Data would like to thank the Bentley team for this accelerator programme and is excited to continue co-developing products and services, enabling digital transformations across the infrastructure sector.”
Virtual Technology Simplified (VTS) enables tablet and phone data capture of utility assets and developed a data mobility and visualisation solution on the iTwin Platform. John Chwalibog, founder and CEO of VTS, said, “For us at VTS, two things particularly jumped out. One was that the VTS development team had access to Bentley’s team of SMEs who could help us identify problems and collaborate with us to find solutions to any technical issues that came up throughout the project. Second was the team of people that came together over the course of the cohort. They were able to address the challenges all startups face when going from startup to funded company. We would highly recommend the program to other startups in the geospatial community as the experience was extremely positive for the entire VTS team.”
iTwin Activate's second cohort will focus on solutions for Infrastructure Internet of Things (IIoT) use cases and is open for all interested parties to apply. Cory Baldwin, Bentley’s vice- president of Infrastructure IoT, described his goals for this cohort. “We are excited to work with startups in the IoT space and build technology and partnerships together to solve the needs of the infrastructure sector. We are particularly interested in working with teams focused on creating predictive analytics or deriving insights from the sensor data federated in the iTwin Platform, as well as those creating novel sensors or sensing technologies that can be brought into our digital twin ecosystem as part of a software-led motion.”