Matidor and Arup to partner on smart city management

IMAGE:'s team pictured

The team behind the Matidor platform. (Courtesy and global built environment consulting firm Arup Group Ltd. are partnering to help organizations with energy efficiency in smart city modelling.

The company’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform’s current iteration, known as Matidor Noa and released early this year, offers project management for field services. It can update all project information including budgets, emissions monitoring and geographic information systems (GIS) in real-time.

Based in Vancouver, Matidor was founded in 2019 by Vincent Lam, a former technical lead at Google Earth, and Sean Huang, formerly a Shanghai-based mobile VR entrepreneur.

“Matidor actually compliments (Arup) quite nicely in terms of providing the visual and the intuitiveness of (not) having to deal with the raw data or having to manually punch in a bunch of numbers,” said Lam, who is also Matidor’s CEO. “They can use the map as basically, just like drawing on Microsoft Paint, they can draw on the map and say, ‘Okay, I want a building here, one plant there’.”

It can be used in municipalities, civil engineering, oil and gas, property management, environmental services and renewables among others. The cost depends on the company size and the services required, but can range from $25,000 to $150,000.

“Then in real time, the engineers doing the calculation in the back end based on where the pipelines are being connected to which power plants, for example . . . (Matidor reduces) the time for them to go through multiple scenarios in order to find the optimum energy usage.”

The platform is accessible on a computer, mobile phone or tablet. It is available for both Android and iOS phones on Google Play and the Apple Store. Any new user is promised a two-week onboarding process from the company.

Although headquartered in London, England, Arup has offices around the world. Its Canadian locations are in Toronto and Montreal. It provides end-to-end climate risk, resiliency and sustainability services to a wide range of global clients.

The Arup partnership

The Arup partnership grew out of a chance encounter during a competition for tech startups.

Early in 2021, Matidor competed in a Vancouver startup pitch competition, having placed second at TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield, and it appeared as a finalist in South by Southwest Pitch. A local venture capital firm saw the product and after a brief walkthrough, connected Huang and Lam with Arup.

“Back then, Arup had been modelling energy systems using spreadsheets and other manual calculations, which can be quite cumbersome and slow,” said Huang, who also serves as Matidor’s head of business development. “They thought Matidor had a very intuitive take on being able to not just visualize where things are happening, but being able to incorporate project management functionality that enables better collaboration.”

The plan is to combine the platform with Arup’s expertise in sustainability and energy efficiency modelling, a move Lam said “. . . is quite a game changer for the civil engineering space, especially in the sustainability area.”

IMAGE: Screenshot of Matidor's platform in use

Matidor’s platform in action. (Courtesy

Arup will provide Matidor to its clients, but the platform is also available to others in the same space, even direct competitors or other engineering firms. As Lam explained, Arup wants to share its domain expertise with professionals in the same field.

Matidor previously established partnerships with several companies including Esri, the international supplier of ArcGIS — a family of GIS software and services. ArcGIS can be integrated into the Matidor platform.

In October 2021 the company teamed with SkyWatch Space Applications Inc. in Waterloo, Ont., allowing the latter to use the Matidor platform in its satellite observation of Earth.

Edmonton-based TerraShift Engineering Ltd., an environmental consulting company for the sand, gravel, peat and resource development industry, also utilizes Matidor software.

“Arup is pleased to support the development of a new technology to make it easier for both start-ups and established firms to track their climate action progress, as more companies integrate sustainability objectives into their project management systems,” said Rebecca Birmingham, Arup’s Americas ventures lead, in a statement on the partnership.

Matidor’s past and future

Lam and Huang first worked together in 2018 on a geospatial augmented reality program they dubbed Loqus. From there, the pair refocused their ideas into what became Matidor.

Matidor participated in Y Combinator’s summer 2021 accelerator program, receiving an investment of approximately $164,000. From there, it capped an investment round in October that totalled $2.4 million. Investors included New York’s Space Capital, Boston’s Equal Opportunity Ventures  and Houston’s Cathexis Ventures.

The Y Combinator is an American startup accelerator launched in 2005. It has assisted in the rise of many companies including Airbnb, Coinbase, Cruise, DoorDash, Dropbox, Instacart, Quora, PagerDuty, Reddit, Stripe and Twitch.

For future iterations Lam and Huang have been looking at implementing 3D digital twinning technology to create better modelling, as well as AI that can suggest an optimum level of energy usage for a particular aspect of a project instead of the current trial-and-error process.

“Those are some of the things that we can continue evolving the model on. Then, of course, for Matidor, we always bring the operation not just for the planning side, but we’re also helping the execution of the building of the smart city and (its) aftercare,” Lam said.

“We’re expanding our footprint and covering the lifecycle of infrastructure, building, execution and remediation.”

Nicholas Sokic is a freelance, Toronto-based journalist. He has covered a number of sectors, including business, finance, crypto, health, cannabis and culture. He graduated from Western University's Master of Media…

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Nicholas Sokic is a freelance, Toronto-based journalist. He has covered a number of sectors, including business, finance, crypto, health, cannabis and culture. He graduated from Western University's Master of Media…

Read more

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