Techopia Live: Ottawa’s Giatec Scientific scaling up with ‘discipline’

Fresh off its appearance on the 2019 Growth 500 list of Canada’s fastest-growing companies, Giatec Scientific sent its co-founder and chief technology officer Pouria Ghods to Techopia Live to break down what’s behind the concrete sensor developer’s rapid growth.

Giatec, which is also one of Techopia’s tech firms to watch in 2019, helps contractors measure the quality of concrete during construction and over the lifespan of a building. By embedding sensors in concrete as it is poured, Giatec’s technology allows builders to check the quality of the concrete in real-time from a mobile app as opposed to the traditional, laborious process of sending samples to a lab and awaiting the results.

“This concrete sensor technology empowers them to make a decision on the job site,” Ghods told Techopia Live. The sensors, which are used by the likes of Tomlinson and other major contractors, speed up decision-making and work on projects, potentially saving valuable hours on each job.

Now that the company feels it’s found its product market fit, Giatec recently set out to scale. Ghods said he and his business partner Aali Alizadeh sat down last year to determine what kind of leadership the company needed to move forward and where the firm could get the discipline it needed to scale its decision-making processes.

They found their answer in Paul Loucks, OBJ’s 2015 CEO of the Year. Loucks had scaled companies to global players in the past, taking Ottawa’s Halogen Software to new heights in the early 2000s.

“We are seeing that he’s going to do the same thing that he did at Halogen: Taking the company from 40 people to 400 by putting in more discipline, making the foundation stronger,” Ghods said.

In addition to the strength of Giatec’s product, Ghods said one of the factors helping the firm grow is the attractiveness of its solution to an industry facing a talent crunch.

As the construction industry looks to attract a younger generation to the field, making use of an Internet of Things-based solution helps bring impressions of the industry into the 21st century. Ghods said that phenomenon is helping Giatec become not just a solution for the actual construction process, but also a recruitment tool for contractors to attract the younger generation.

“They want to be part of technology change. They don’t want to be part of traditional, old-school work,” he said. “That’s another factor helping us to have significant growth in the construction market.”


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