Broadened Industry Viewpoints and Expanded Networks Marked Brisk Synergies’ Together For Safer Roads GEP Experience
The most recent TSR Global Entrepreneur Program (GEP) cohort consisted of three companies, selected from 35 applicants. One of the companies was Brisk Synergies, a leader in automated road safety analysis. By applying AI and Deep Learning to traffic video, they help transportation engineers and planners to better understand road safety problems and challenges, and proactively identify solutions.
We sat down with Charles Chung, CEO of Brisk Synergies, to talk about his experience as a GEP cohort member.
Aside from being one of the winning portfolio companies in last year’s GEP cohort, what was your overall experience with the program?
I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect but did know that the opportunity was a unique one. Once we were accepted, it was clear that there were numerous tier one organizations involved, all of which offered different perspectives on road safety. Everyone was coming at the problem with unique approaches, which was great.
This opened up a lot of possibilities for us as a small company to understand where we could grow and how we could form close relationships with the TSR members. It was really interesting for us to communicate and network with multiple organizations in road safety and expand partnership possibilities.
You’ve been involved in a few other incubator-like programs. How have they compared with GEP?
Yes, we’ve done a few accelerators as a company, from VC-backed incubators like INFINITI Lab out of Hong Kong, 1776’s Transurban Smart Highway Challenge, and FounderFuel in Montreal. We’re also supported by the Accelerator Centre in Waterloo, which gives us access to various regional incubating programs.
GEP has definitely been different. TSR’s program is not just a 3-4 month program, it’s 12 months, and their objectives are much more fluid. We weren’t siloed in a specific way in order to work with the organization and its members. It was refreshing compared to other accelerators, which were very defined within a particular ecosystem and accelerator focus.
Because TSR clients come from diverse industry areas, we were also able to deeply explore how we might work with different entities in a much more organic way.
What are the top ways in which GEP helped you and your company?
One of the most significant ways was that the program expanded our perspectives through joint projects, and we were able to look at road safety issues with a much broader view. For instance, there are two projects on which we partnered with TSR that are bringing absolute values to a broad audience.
One of those projects is with the City of Houston. We are offering our road safety service to assess road safety issues in the City. Working with a big city like Houston is exciting, and that opportunity was born from our relationship with TSR.
We were able to broaden our partnerships by being involved in TSR’s program. The program is a big boost for a small company like ours, as at this early stage in our company’s lifecycle, it’s otherwise difficult to get in front of larger entities such as Houston to demonstrate our technology.
We have another project through TSR, working with the City of Bellevue, WA, to measure near-collisions as an indicator for future collisions. The project objective is to secure critical validations of what the industry needs today from a road safety perspective. In terms of collision prediction technology, there hasn’t been enough in-depth and long-term research to quantify the value of it. In partnership with Bellevue, and with TSR’s funding and facilitation, we’re using our technology and putting together a team to do this research. It’s a really great partnership, and it wouldn’t have happened without TSR.
What are some of the milestones you’ve accomplished since your participation in GEP?
We’ve been part of Cohort II for a year now, and our revenue has doubled. We’ve been able to get deeper traction into North American markets, and we’ve started to go beyond selling directly to cities. We’re now also working with engineering firms who can help us bring our road safety technology to a broader audience and pool of clients. We’re also able to deploy a lot faster and wider.
Would you recommend this program to other startups?
Absolutely. The GEP was a great opportunity for Brisk, and we gained really valuable things out of the program and in working with the TSR team.
Interested in applying for the 2020 GEP? Deadline is Sept. 30. Details are here.