Spring 2022 Crossroads Pitch Competition at The Mill in Bloomington (photo courtesy of The Mill)

Evansville-based startup Utiliz has won first place in the Spring 2022 Crossroads Pitch Competition held at The Mill, Bloomington’s nonprofit center for entrepreneurship and coworking. Utiliz, which won by unanimous vote, helps determine when water utility pipes are likely to fail.

Utiliz Chief Executive Officer Jackson Bolek and his team are set to receive $10,000 in cash, as well as a package of startup and business services. The subscription-based app aggregates data from various sources to provide an asset management dashboard that shows which pipes are most at risk.

“Our team is excited to be developing software that will change how utilities look at their infrastructure,” said Bolek. “Utilities of all sizes need access to cutting-edge tools at a price point they can afford, and we believe that we’re equipped to deliver those tools later this spring.”

Bolek says many utilities don’t have data to predict breakages, and they’re forced to guess which pipes should be replaced next. In his pitch, Bolek explained that the age of a pipe is a poor predictor for breakage, and can result in huge expenses for the utility and its consumers.

“I think we all understand the urgency of ensuring reliable access to water,” said Andy Lehman, head of accelerator programming. “Utiliz is creating a user-friendly, essential solution that benefits not just their customers, but also communities and citizens as a whole. Its human-centered design makes insights from complex scientific data understandable and actionable, on one of the biggest infrastructure challenges facing cities across the county.”

Bolek says Utiliz has an initial accuracy rate of 75%. As utilities add their own data, accuracy increases to 87%.

The startup has enrolled three utilities in a private beta set to begin in April and plans on releasing its minimum viable product in May.