Backers go with the flow at InferSens
May 26, 2022
How do you find out how fast the water is flowing through your pipes? Or how hot it is? Well, I suppose you could stick a measuring jug under the tap and use a stopwatch and thermometer. But supposing you need to measure the flow and temperature 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure that dangerous bacteria such as Legionella doesn’t get a chance to breed in the pipes, as might be the case in commercial and industrial buildings such as hospitals and hotels? Step forward entrepreneur Colin Payne, founder and CEO of Cambridge Science Park-based ‘non-invasive’ intelligent flowmeter startup, InferSens. They’ve developed a remote flow sensor unit (see pic) that can be clipped onto almost any pipe and transmit real-time flow and temperature data from any location. Non-invasive flow sensors are not new - they typically use ultrasonic transducers but are expensive to install and maintain. InferSens has adopted the ‘sensing-as-a-service’ business model, providing the kit and the software platform for a monthly subscription fee. Founded in 2015, Infersens has just raised £870k in a seed funding round led by RO Capital Partners, with participation from Oxford Innovation Fund, and Bruce Melizan, former MD of former outsourcing company Interserve’s support services division. Melizan left Interserve in 2017, some three years ahead of its collapse and acquisition by Mitie. There’s much I don’t understand about InferSens, such as who builds the hardware, is the IP protected, what does it all cost, and, most importantly, is it fit for purpose for the long haul? Clearly the funding injection aims to help Payne and his team prove the point. I hope he does as this sounds like ground-breaking technology for the construction industry and beyond. My main worry is that £870k won’t get them far enough, fast enough. For goodness sake, please can we get serious about backing UK innovation?