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Nouman Ahmad
Nouman Ahmad, Co-founder and CEO at Validere

Get to Know Cohort 5: Validere

Headquartered in Toronto with offices in Calgary and Houston, Validere develops AI and IoT solutions designed to help the oil and gas industry optimize product quality, logistics, and trading decisions. Co-founded in 2015 by President and CTO Dr. Ian Burgess, and CEO Nouman Ahmad, Validere is currently participating in Cohort 5 of the Lazaridis ScaleUp Program.

Lazaridis Institute: How did Validere get started?

Nouman Ahmad: In 2013, a train carrying crude oil through Lac Megantic, QC derailed and exploded, killing 47 people. In the wake of the disaster, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) did an audit and found that the crude the train was carrying was too volatile for the tanks holding it. They started looking for solutions that could classify crude in real-time to avoid this from happening again.
At the same time, my Co-founder Ian Burgess was working on liquid sensing technology in a lab at Harvard. The DOT reached out to him and asked for help in building a solution that would classify crude oil. With that, Validere was born.
When we started digging into the problem, we realized that it went much deeper. Knowing the properties of crude oil (called “quality” in the industry) in the field in real-time is a very difficult problem.
We realized that solving that problem presented and enormous opportunity to transform the oil and gas
industry by making it more efficient and capturing a massive amount of lost value.


LI: As Co-founder and CEO, what is it that you enjoy the most about building a company?
NA: There are many exciting and challenging aspects of building a successful company. Working with
extremely talented and passionate people and drawing on their expertise to build solutions that have
the potential to transform industries and impact people’s lives is certainly at the top of the list.


LI: What milestone achieved by Validere so far are you most proud of and why?
NA: I’m very proud of reaching more than three million barrels being monitored by our software. This traction validates that the solutions we’ve created are leading to real impact in the industry. Also, the speed at which we reached that milestone gives me confidence that we’ll be able to quickly scale our impact globally.


LI: What motivated you to apply to the Lazaridis ScaleUp Program and what do you hope to get out of the experience?
NA: We have found that building a strong team of advisors is invaluable for building a successful business. Given the deep expertise of advisors in the Lazaridis ScaleUp program, applying was an easy decision. The ScaleUp Program also matched well with the stage of our business, as we are seeing very fast growth and need to scale our operations very quickly to take advantage of it. Through the program, we look forward to gaining perspective from the experience of our advisors, and building a dialogue with the other companies in our cohort.


LI: Which program weekend are you most looking forward to and why?
NA: I believe each program weekend will offer unique value. Leadership and Growth are the two that I am looking forward to the most. Our company is at an inflection point with large growth expected over the next year – leadership and growth guidance will be invaluable to help me navigate the upcoming chapter.


LI: What’s the best part about being located in Canada?
NA: Access to talent. The problem we’re solving is extremely complex. We need experts in physical science, data science, software engineering, commodity trading, and oil and gas operations. We’ve been able to recruit experts in all these areas. We believe Canada’s leadership in both technology and energy
uniquely positions us to solve the most challenging problems facing the industry.

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