Rapid Flow Technologies

Rapid Flow.png


Rapid Flow Technologies is an early stage infrastructure startup working on modernizing traffic systems.  Their flagship product is a smart traffic lighting system called Surtrac.  Current modern day traffic light systems are hard programmed around average traffic flow, but are not adaptive, making them extremely inefficient during most of the day.  Surtrac use AI and cameras that continuously study traffic patterns so they can adjust lighting systems on the fly.  For example, if cameras see a backlog of cars at one point of intersection it would automatically make the green light last longer to clear the backlog.  If no car was in the left turn lane, the system could skip the left turn arrow for that cycle.  The system also communicates its data to nearby traffic lights to help them anticipate when they will receive traffic.

The team was started out of Carnegie Mellon University and is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  

Why I like Them

I like that they are an AI company building something that quickly adds tangible value and efficiency visible from day one.  Rapid Flow Technology's systems reduce travel time by 25%, reduce wait time at intersections by 40%, decrease stopping by 30%, and reduce overall vehicle emissions by 20%.  Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and smart infrastructure is a high growth area over the next 2 decades driven by the adoption of autonomous vehicles.  Products like Rapid Flow's are the beginnings of a modern traffic management and vehicular system which will make transportation much more efficient than it is currently.

Disclosure:  All information is from publicly available sources, I have not had any contact with a member of the company or its investors.




NPM is a startup that does package management and acts as a registry for JavaScript.  Basically it allows software engineers to share code they've developed to solve particular problems in what are called packages.  Any website or software application today uses dozens to hundreds of packages.  NPM has a good explanation here.  

The company offers a paid SaaS version and an on premise versions of its software with the revenue split being roughly equal between the two.  NPM started as an open source effort by its founder and CEO, Isaac Schlueter, but due to strong customer demand for features, took venture backing to more quickly develop the product for the community.

NPM is not profitable yet but sees a very clear path to getting there with its paid product offerings seeing exponential growth. The team is based in Oakland, California and is currently 25 employees.

Why I like Them

The importance of JavaScript to the modern day web is undeniable and you can't use JavaScript today without running into NPM. Every company writing software is likely utilizing NPM to some degree.  With its centrality to package management and private libraries it is easy to see how network effects are kicking in, expanding NPM's moat and making their product even more attractive to users.

Further getting me excited about their prospects is that Facebook built upon NPM to release React and Yarn which works with the NPM registry, thus cementing NPM at the heart of JavaScript.  One other potential avenue for growth the team pointed out to me when I spoke with them is the wealth of data they've collected. The team believes with the application of some artificial intelligence they will be able to produce meaningful analytics from their data.

It is not a far leap to see NPM becoming the next GitHub.

Disclosure:  I have spoken to members of the executive team.



Konux is an industrial Internet of Things startup based in Munich, Germany.  Their focus in the emerging industrial IoT space is on infrastructure with their first offerings for  rail and subway system monitoring.  They offer a complete solution including cloud analytics, sensors, custom hardware, and AI based predictive forecasting.     

Systems like these give a real time and 'god' like view of public infrastructure that has been unavailable prior to today.  This allows preventive maintenance (i.e. lowering an operator's cost), reduces train delays, and rapid identification of any critical issues for increased safety.

They are a young company started in mid 2014.

Why I like Them

I like industrial IoT startups that seek to take a legacy industry (in Konux's case, rail operators) and seek to digitize it.  There are easily quantifiable cost reductions from this type of product that makes it an easy and sticky sell to industrial customers once they see the value.

In initially focusing on railway operators Konux has chosen a great customer base to focus on since it is large but for many parts of their network still operate using analog technology and manual inspections.  Konux has shown great early success due to their killer feature being the ability to monitor in real time rail switch monitoring, an area legacy technologies had difficulty with.

I also like that they withstood the siren call of Silicon Valley and have kept their company in the center of Europe to be based near their customers.  Europe is light years ahead of the US in terms of rail and public transit and growth will be swifter for Konux staying where they were founded.

Disclosure:  All information is from publicly available sources, I have not had any contact with a member of the company or its investors.