Miovision, whose technology helps cities reduce traffic congestion, is hitting the gas pedal with C$30 million in new investment. The Series B round, led by Montreal-based merchant bank MacKinnon, Bennett & Co., will help the nine-year-old company expand the reach of its cloud-based traffic management platform. That system, called Spectrum, uses video to collect data from intersections in real time and sends it to the cloud, which enables cities to co-ordinate traffic signals and reduce gridlock. “Most people don’t know this, but a lot of intersections aren’t actually connected to one another or to any sort of central system,” Kurtis McBride, Miovision co-founder and CEO, told Communitech News. The relatively few connected signal systems in existence use expensive fibre-optic or Ethernet networks to feed traffic data into large, centrally run data centres. By contrast, Miovision’s system uses easily-installed cellular antennae to feed the same traffic data from intersections to the cloud, where it can be managed using any web browser. “With one of the pilot customers we’re working with right now, we’re doing 634 intersections for them for roughly the same price as they did 40 intersections last year” using conventional technology, McBride said. Miovision aims to capitalize on the current trends toward smarter cities, open data and energy conservation to market its platform to municipalities, which have traditionally relied on “regional monopolies” for traffic-management technology, McBride said. That technology invariably operates on expensive, closed platforms that have failed to take advantage of advancements in wireless and cloud systems. “We’re trying to move the industry . . . towards more of an open architecture” that will allow third parties to build applications on Miovision’s platform, he said, “the idea being that the more open the network, the more innovation can happen, because the more collaboration can happen between different parties.” McBride added: “I suspect the customers will love it and I suspect the incumbent market forces will not, but ultimately, if we serve the customer, then that’s the right way to win.” In addition to MacKinnon, Bennett & Co., participants in the investment round are Investeco Capital (Toronto), Renewal Funds (Vancouver), Plaza Ventures (Toronto) and Comerica (Dallas). The first three of those five specialize in environmental or energy conservation investments. All but Comerica are also Canadian, a relative rarity in tech investing north of the border, and a point of pride for Miovision, McBride said. “There are lots of people who take U.S. investment, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that necessarily,” he said. “So many times people just assume there’s no money here and go south, so this was our way to show the community that there is money out there if you look for it, and if you can, keep it in the country.” McBride co-founded Miovision with University of Waterloo classmates Kevin Madill and Tony Brijpaul in 2005, and they were the first clients at Waterloo’s Accelerator Centre when it opened in 2006. In 2007, the company launched in earnest when it shipped its first Video Collection Units to customers in North America. The VCUs, a more accurate and affordable alternative to manual traffic counting, worked in tandem with Miovision video processing software. A few iterations later, its video units have gathered more than 1.5 million hours of traffic data for collection firms, engineering firms and government agencies. Miovision has more than 500 customers in 50 countries. The company employs 75 people, and plans to grow at a rate of about three employees per month, subject to being able to find the right candidates, McBride said. “Our philosophy is, it’s hard to find amazing people who fit the culture and are passionate about what we’re trying to do,” he said, “so as fast as we can find those types of people, we’re going to hire them.” McBride made waves late last year when he suggested Waterloo Region’s tech ecosystem would benefit from more poaching of employees, by forcing employers to work harder to retain talented people.