"We’re all very proud to be from Kentucky." — Jeff Phelps, StructuRight CEO
Is your building structurally sound?
Find a new opportunity
300 for Render Capital competition
Mentoring and capital in southern Indiana
Venture capital in Lexington
GoodMaps' tech goes to Europe
ITEL and Seek Now announce partnership
Training tracking tech
Tech conference for girls
Around the Region
Know Your City!
June 1, 2021
CHAT WITH AN INNOVATOR
Is your building structurally sound?
Jeff Phelps, CEO, StructuRight
Structural health monitoring — observing the health of a bridge or building over time — is projected to be a $5 to $6 billion market by 2025. Louisville company StructuRight, is positioned to ride that wave of growth. We spoke to Jeff Phelps, StructuRight’s CEO, about how the company came to be, what it’s working on, and what’s great about being located in Louisville.
Tell us about what you do.
Phelps: We look at a building, develop a digital asset, draw it, and then work with an engineer to place our system in the building. Once it is in installed, our system monitors structural deformation of key points in the building, including angular deformation and inter-story drift from a fixed point.
In layman’s terms, we look at how the building is moving. We have both a portal and an app, the purpose of which is to provide real-time data access and alerts. Stakeholders — the engineer, the property owners or whomever — receive a notification that the building has moved.
Then through the portal, we collect this data, which the end user can access to perform deeper dives into the structural performance of that building.
What is the primary space you currently work within?
Phelps: At present, our primary space is in bourbon barrel storage facilities or rickhouses. We have also identified a need to monitor environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity levels. We’ve built our system to be sensor-agnostic. This means we can basically take any available sensor on the IoT sensor in the marketplace and plug it into our system.
How did the business get started?
Phelps: I used to be an architect. I was working on the City Hall in New Albany, Indiana, an old masonry building that was sitting in a flood plain. We needed to find a way to monitor the building’s movement to ensure that people were safe. We needed to monitor the building so we could stabilize it and ultimately initiate structural remediation.
While all of this was going on, I shared office space with Drew Duffin and a couple of others in the historic theater in downtown Louisville. Drew had a drone on his desk. I was looking at the drone and taking it apart when I found a variety of sensors.
I thought that if a drone can be controlled remotely, then surely we can come up with a solution for City Hall. We needed a system that could be deployed on a building to precisely measure how the building is moving.
"Although we teetered on looking for investments from suppliers and manufacturers across the country, we always come back to Louisville specifically or to Kentucky."
— Jeff Phelps, StructuRight
Drew and I found an engineer to build the hardware, and then we built the company. Within two months, we had developed a prototype to deploy at at City Hall.
Immediately after we deployed the system, there was a big wind storm. The sensors we had placed in the building picked up movement. To test our system, the engineer hired a third party to do a scan of it and build a heat map. All of that validated the data that we had collected on that building, so basically it was a proof of concept right there.
So then you transitioned to the bourbon industry?
Phelps: The reason we like the bourbon space is because it’s very difficult. The storage facilities, or rickhouses, provide challenges that force us to be nimble. It is also a high-hazard environment, as alcohol has a tendency to combust if the vapor content rises above a certain threshold.
Where do you go in the future?
Phelps: We already know this tech can apply across many different industries, from civil construction to bridges, dams, major utility plans, high-rise skyscrapers and everything in between. We want to prove the concept, prove our core, prove our value, and then expand in the next couple of years into these alternative markets.
Aside from your connection with the bourbon industry, what are the other advantages of being located in Louisville?
Phelps: First, we’re able to do more with less. Up to this point, we have boot-strapped everything. Although we teetered on looking for investments from suppliers and manufacturers across the country, we always come back to Louisville specifically or to Kentucky.
In terms of brand awareness, working in the bourbon industry is a sexy market, where word travels fast. Word of mouth has definitely helped us grow.
There is also a lot of hidden talent here. We don’t have to consult with a $500-per-hour engineer out of Palo Alto, California because we can just go down to a hacker space or ask a friend if he or she knows somebody. Nine times out of 10, the contact we find turns out to be pretty impressive. I would say that one of the bigger takeaways is having a local resource for everything.
Looking to bust a move? Check out these regional opportunities.
Creative Director - Social Media Content at Pap's Beef Jerky
LOUISVILLE: This role will leverage your skill set to develop and produce on-brand, engaging video and marketing content for major social media platforms. Develop and produce content, develop calendar and implementation strategy, track and manage data. Contact Pap's Jerky here for additional details.
Union Hall (a Cintrifuse space) is hiring an Operations and Events Manager
CINCINNATI: Play an essential role in the maintenance and success of Union Hall, a 38,000 square foot coworking and event space! The building is an entrepreneurial hub for dozens of startups and hundreds of events/meetings per year. This role includes leading the sales of coworking plans and meeting rooms, managing operating systems, distributing building communications, and ensuring optimal customer satisfaction. Click here for details and email [email protected] to apply.
New Indy Startup PAXAFE is hiring a Machine Learning Engineer
INDIANAPOLIS: Join an inclusive startup team and play an instrumental role in taking new product initiatives from the white board to production. PAXAFE predicts adverse events through the supply chain to de-risk B2B shipments and enable dynamic cargo insurance. If you geek out on data and have 3+ years of ML experience, check out more details and apply here.
Signal Advisors is hiring a Backend Engineer
DETROIT/REMOTE: Play an essential role in building a fintech product with Signal Advisors. Based in Detroit, Signal Advisors is a venture-backed, tech-enabled insurance distributor helping independent financial advisors grow their business. While maintaining their Detroit HQ for anyone who wants it, Signal is a fully distributed remote team. The Backend Software Engineer will create and manage cutting edge APIs and serverless computing resources for the Signal Advisors platform. Click here for more details and to apply to Signal.
Finite State is hiring a Software Engineer
REMOTE: Be at the forefront of supply chain security. Finite State is growing their team of top engineers to help them provide comprehensive cybersecurity for modern networks. As a Software Engineer at Finite State, you'll work on building world class information security products with one or more agile development teams. If you are an experienced self-starter who enjoys working in a fast-paced, collaborative environment, learn more about this role at Finite State and apply.
Share these jobs!
LOOKING FOR TALENT?
Find talent where talent reads about innovation! We are the connecting hub for the innovators in Flyover Country. Our readers (just like you) are the highly skilled innovators you want to attract. Place a Flyover Talent ad today to help find the right person.
Access to mentoring and capital in southern Indiana
Good news for high-potential entrepreneurs in Southern Indiana: Elevate Ventures and Render Capital are partnering to offer hands-on mentoring, early-stage startup funding and access to education content and events. The partnership, called Elevate Southeast Indiana, replaces 1804, Inc.
Growing venture capital in Lexington
UK's Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) announced the offering of Launch Blue Ventures (LBV) to support the growth of venture capital for startups in Kentucky. LBV will be a part of Launch Blue, a startup accelerator program developed in partnership with Bluegrass Angels (BGA) and Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC).
Seek Now Inc., located on Chamberlain Ln, announced an integration with ITEL Laboratories, an independent testing lab in Florida that analyzes damaged materials for adjusters, contractors and policyholders seeking to settle claims. Seek Now’s platform uses augmented reality, 4D, and AI to capture and transmit information in industries from insurance to real estate.
Training tracking tech
HR and other stakeholders now have a way to track on-the-job training (OJT) with eLeaP’s new training tracking feature for its learning management system. The new feature lets users track OJT metrics to close skills gaps and ensure compliance with industry regulations.
What resources do you need to succeed in Louisville?
Louisville Future created the Innovation Radar so you have a resource to track and connect to the most innovative companies and people in our region. The radar is also our guide to reporting the amazing stories you see each week.