Written by Andrew Seale
A year ago, Jordan Korenzvit didn’t know much about concrete. Today, his startup Exact Technology Corporation and its mass concrete monitoring solutions form the backbone of the sweeping Eglinton Crosstown LRT project’s base.
“I think there are a thousand-plus elements of mass concrete across that line,” he says. Exact Technology has stepped in with a suite of monitoring tools to ensure that concrete doesn’t overheat. But it was only last fall that the former owner of home visual and audio automation retailer Bang and Olufsen’s Yorkville shop, started thinking about mass concrete.
“I got a call from one of the three partners on the Crosslinx project looking for a better solution for temperature monitoring for concrete,” says Korenzvit pointing out that overheated concrete can crack or even worse, fall apart before it reaches its projected service life, a very real conundrum Toronto is witnessing right now with pieces of the Gardiner Expressway falling off. “If they knew then what we know now about making sure concrete doesn't overheat and (had the technology to) monitor closer they would probably get a much longer service life out of the Gardiner.”
Crosslinx tapped Korenzvit to find a more cost effective solution.
“I looked at it closer and figured I could actually build them something from scratch based on my previous experience that would do a good job (and) get them all the data they needed,” he says.
Having real-time data would allow the engineers to cure concrete in a lab matching the temperatures of concrete on the actual line and then test it for cracking. He built a prototype and the project partners signed on, hiring the freshly-minted Exact Technology to develop the solutions.
“When we first had this conversation a year ago, I wasn't thinking ahead to this year that we would have our products across Canada… that wasn’t the intent,” he says. Yet, only a year in, his team has grown to five engineers. The company’s solutions are used in “a dozen towers” throughout Toronto and projects both public and private across the country, monitoring mass concrete crane bases and making the whole construction process more efficient.
“Once we started (Crosslinx) other infrastructure projects started calling us… the Edmonton LRT spread over to Vancouver,” he says.
Korenzvit had a software startup a decade and a half ago while coming out of university and running Bang and Olufsen has given him more than enough experience running a business. But he says he hasn’t had much time to think about engaging an incubator or accelerator to grow Exact Technology. He’s not even sure it’d be necessary at this point. After all, Toronto provides no shortage of opportunity for sales.
“If you want to supply a service or product to construction, Toronto is one of the best places in the world to do so with the mass amount of construction going on,” he says pointing to both public and private opportunities. “The Crosslinx project has more mass concrete than any other private project… just being close to a project like that and having the opportunity to work on it, you can’t do that anywhere else in Canada.”
Photos: Cameron Bartlett (www.snappedbycam.com)