Meade Lewis and Justin M. Stewart
Meade Lewis and Justin M. Stewart are co-founders of startup mIQrotech whose Internet of Things (IOT) solution helps externally monitors the health of oil and natural gas pipelines, allowing for predictive maintenance
Common causes of pipeline failure include interior corrosion, sabotage, human error, earth movement, and faulty safety systems – all things that sensors can detect before they spiral out of control.
Founded in 2016, mIQrotech has closed one round of ECF (equity crowd funding), raising $215,000. It currently employs 2 full-time and a part-time staffer. The startup is developing artificial intelligence and machine-learning backed solutions to analyze pipeline data in real-time, helping companies prevent pipeline leaks and costly cleanups.
“We met in a gym, and hit it off immediately with similar interests – both as eagle scouts with a love of our environment,” said Stewart, also chief operating officer, of his partnership with Lewis, the chief executive officer.
They offer insights about their startup to Icons of Infrastructure.
IOI: How did you get into the energy sector?
Stewart: Our CEO was the CTO for multiple oil companies and is well known for his innovative solutions to difficult problems to industry faces, both with physical assets and cutting-edge technological solutions using IoT devices.
IOI: What was your first job?
Lewis: CTO of an oil and gas firm
Stewart: Oracle Database Administrator with AMP Inc.
IOI: Did you think you were going to be an entrepreneur?
IOI: So how did you start mIQrotech?
Stewart: This was Meade’s brainchild and the two of us had significant common ground, as we are both Eagle Scouts. Further, he has expertise and personal strengths that are mutually complementary to mine. His deep expertise with IoT and hardware programming and hardware design, coupled with my 20-year career in business analysis, database architecture, and software development set the foundation for the strongest two-man team possible to tackle the difficult problems the oil and gas industry faces.
IOI: And what is mIQrotech?
Lewis & Stewart: mIQrotech is a company which is founded upon integrity of heart, honesty, and principal. And our love for natural resources, which we learned from being raised by our parents in boy scouts. We know our country needs petroleum based energy for the coming decades to survive. We also know the oil and gas industry has a very challenging job to get these volatile commodities to its customers, and we know the industry is 100% focused on preventing these problems. However, to this point, there has been no solution set capable of providing true understanding of a pipeline infrastructure – similar to a home security system where knowledge of the entire asset is measured and understood in real time. Well thankfully, those days are now past us. mIQrotech is the up-and-coming oil and gas pipeline monitoring company. Our ground-breaking technology and approach will revolutionize the entire oil and gas industry, bringing stakeholders from a position of weakness and reaction, to a position of strength and pro-activity. And in the near term, our software will automatically shut down pipelines that show clear signs of failure, according to agreed-upon protocols by the customer. We are determined to strengthen oil and gas companies’ ability to provide these critical commodities to their customers with greatly reduced risk and greatly increased peace of mind on the part of all people. Let the pipes speak, and then we can listen and act accordingly.
IOI: What were your main obstacles when launching mIQrotech?
Stewart: The most significant obstacle in starting mIQrotech was fear. It’s that simple. Meade and I stepped out in faith, and quit our jobs. We left our homes for months and settled in at Ocean accelerator in Cincinnati, OH, to sprint to our goals. Ocean is almost over, and we have connected with amazing people, and gained massive amounts of knowledge while here. We have overcome our obstacles of fear through faith and hard work. Our patent is filed, with more on the way. Our printed circuit board is complete. Our back-end software MVP is ready to accept device data. And we are opening another round of financing shortly! We are thankful to be where we are, and know where we are going!
IOI: What is unique about your startup?
Stewart: Our determination, our love of nature, our personal and professional abilities, our IP, and our artificial intelligence/machine learning software. Meade and I are tenacious; we do not give up when we set out to accomplish something and we have the skills to get this solution running like clock-work. We love the outdoors and nature! Our device IP is unlike anything else on the pipeline monitoring market today. Our AI/ML software will absorb massive amounts of customer device data in real time and bring about understanding for stakeholders so they can make instant, well-informed decisions to mitigate risk and prevent environmental damage. A safer oil and gas industry will make everyone feel more peace in their lives.
IOI: What are your future plans?
Lewis & Stewart: Our future plans are vast and top secret at this point. Suffice it to say, we’ve set our sights on several R&D projects for the coming years to bring the oil and gas industry into the 21st century with revolutionary ideas and capabilities. After our next round of investing is in the books, we’ll be off and running!