COINS Grand Challenge fosters innovation

Every day, three workers die on US construction sites. There are simply far more job sites than safety inspectors, and many sites don’t receive nearly enough inspections to ensure the safety of workers. That is a problem Ardalan Khosrowpour is tackling with his company OnSiteIQ. A startup venture that began in 2017, OnSiteIQ provides users with weekly virtual tours of job sites based on high-resolution photographic scans. This allows inspectors to see more job sites, thereby increasing the number of safe sites around the country.

“It’s pretty much like Google Street View for the construction site,” Khosrowpour said. “We enable our clients to document the site remotely, inspect the site, and do progress updates.”

While this is a great idea that can certainly benefit the entire built industry, sometimes it can be hard for a startup like OnSiteIQ to find footing or traction. Hoping to spread the word in the industry and receiving some feedback—Khosrowpour entered OnSiteIQ into the COINS Grand Challenge, an open competition put on by COINS, a leading built industry software company based out of the United Kingdom.
“We are trying to uncover the next generation of innovators and entrepreneur in the built environment,” said Robert Brown, the CEO of COINS. “We are really just looking for people who have genuinely innovative ideas that will potentially make a difference in the industry.”

Brown stressed that the competition has two main objectives, which is why COINS has hosted it for the past four years. Not only does the company want to make the construction industry a more appealing and attractive industry, but COINS also sees this as an opportunity to give back to the industry.

“We genuinely believe that with success comes a responsibility to give back to society as a whole,” Brown said. “That’s part of our core DNA as a business.”
The competition is divided into two categories – the open competition that is open to anyone over the age of 18, and the undergraduate portion, which is exclusively for university students. In each of those categories, entrants compete in two different challenges: New & Emerging Technology, and Leadership. Eight finalists are chosen and receive an inclusive trip to present their projects to a group of 12 judges with extensive industry experience (this year, BuiltWorlds’ own Bryant Donnowitz was a judge).

Companies and ideas like OnSiteIQ go before the panel of judges to receive feedback on their products.

“What better way to validate your idea, your business model, your team, and your technology than being judged by 12 different judges who are experts in their industry?” said Khosrowpour.

Much to Khosrowpour’s surprise, OnSiteIQ cleaned house at the Grand Challenge. Not only did the company win the open competition’s New & Emerging Technology category, but OnSiteIQ took home the Investment Award—and more importantly, $150,000. With those winnings, Khosrowpour plans to further develop OnSiteIQ’s technology, add new features, and expand the company to catch up with the application’s growing demand. He is thrilled by his success at the COINS Grand Challenge and thinks the event is having a significant influence on the built environment.

This will have a very positive impact on the industry,” said Khosrowpour.

Note: This article first published on BuiltWorld’s blog and can be viewed here.