EnterpriseWorks Startup DeepWalk Pilots Technology That Keeps Campus Sidewalks ADA Compliant

Categories : Recognition & Awards, Research Park
Posted on: February 11, 2023

A EnterpriseWorks startup is changing the way that city workers and civil engineers inspect sidewalks for safety. DeepWalk has built a scanning app that makes it easier and more inexpensive to inspect sidewalks on university campuses and municipalities.

The app is innovative in that users are trained how to use the program on the device. DeepWalk comes with a wide variety of unique features, including community mapping data, 3D site visit models, self-evalutation templates and automatically generated work orders. All of these tools can help a city to generate their estimated cost for sidewalk repairs in a matter of minutes.

Co-founders Brandon Yates and Anshul Shah came up with the app idea in a first-year engineering course at UIUC. Since then, they have participated in the COZAD New Venture Challenge and the iVenture Accelerator program that is sponsored by Gies College of Business.

The iVenture Accelerator is a university program that provides a variety of resources and opportunities for student-led entrepreneurial endeavors.

“iVenture Accelerator is a safe and helpful place to make a lot of mistakes quickly. It taught us to create a fundraising pitch before we would have on our own,” said Yates.  With the iVenture program, DeepWalk was able to formulate a simple and responsive business model that could appeal to a greater pool of clients.

Since DeepWalk’s enrollment in the iVenture program, it has managed to complete a pilot program in Danville, Illinois, and it has confirmed contracts with the University of Maryland, and Western Michigan University. By May 2023, the startup will be used in 15 different cities.

As cities continue to grow and the Baby Boomer generation becomes older, there is a greater need for the inspection of sidewalk safety. There is also a greater need for technology that can analyze whether walkways are compliant with American Disability Act (ADA) guidelines.

DeepWalk is currently located in the EnterpriseWorks building, where it is working on expanding past its current client base. In the future, the company envisions becoming an automatic measurement company that utilizes drones to scan pathways.

Learn more about DeepWalk here.