Investment in IoT platforms for commercial buildings has continued to rise unabated since 2015. With the recent flood of low cost connected building systems, advanced sensors and cloud-based data analytics software driven by machine learning, a diverse range of building management platforms aimed at energy efficiency and asset optimization are being launched.
The companies described below, who have all received funding this year, exemplify the varied range of solutions which are being developed worldwide.
In August 2017, Site 1001, a US developer of an artificial intelligence-driven building maintenance and management platform, raised an additional $6 million in a Series A1 funding round, bringing their total Series A to $11million. Lead investor in the Series A1 was JE Dunn Construction Company of Kansas City, Missouri, from whom Site 1001 was spun out in August 2016.
The system began as a mobile facilities management platform that used the building information collected during construction to help building owners and operators run and maintain their systems more efficiently. Since its launch, the company has enhanced the platform through machine learning tools that can recognize and onboard building components in existing facilities, automate interactions between multiple building sensors and systems, and more accurately predict equipment maintenance needs and assess the overall “health” of a building.
Indian energy analytics startup, Ecolibrium Energy raised $2.6 million in a July 2017 funding round, which included the technology venture arm of real estate services firm, JLL. The company’s SmartSense platform helps large consumers in India (IndiaPepsico, Godrej, and Delhi Metro) not only perform real-time monitoring of their energy consumption using a wireless and cloud-hosted platform, but also provides automated recommendations for performing predictive maintenance on large power-hungry equipment such as motors, industrial air conditioning systems and transformers.
Entic, founded in 2011, received a strategic growth investment in May 2017 from private equity firm, Blackstone. Before the deal, Entic had attracted about $13 million in investments and provided services to about 65 properties. Entic’s SaaS cloud-based technology provides customers with operational intelligence into their energy consuming systems, including HVAC, lighting, and water. Using IoT sensors and analytics-driven optimization of central plant, for a monthly fee, Entic enables performance improvements of existing equipment.
Blackstone has used Entic’s technology to provide operational efficiency and energy savings at several buildings owned by the firm’s real estate funds, including Park Avenue Tower in midtown Manhattan and the Howard Hughes Center in Los Angeles.
ioTium, provider of a flexible, distributed, configurable and extensible IoT middleware platform for multiple vertical applications and services, closed a Series A financing round of $8.39 million in May 2017. ioTium, headquartered in Silicon Valley and backed by GE Ventures, March Capital, and Juniper Networks, enables building owners, building systems providers and building management authorities to remotely and securely provision, connect and manage building automation systems.
Sydney company CIM Enviro, which uses the Internet of Things (IoT) to help customers reduce energy usage, announced the completion of a $3 million series A funding round in March 2017. The investment was led by Capital Markets Technology. CIM Enviro’s Automated Commissioning for Energy (ACE) platform harvests data from building equipment such as pumps, fans and air conditioners using off-the-shelf industrial IoT hardware, then uses big data processing and machine learning algorithms to detect faults and inefficiencies that are wasting energy. The solution can achieve up to 30% reduction in peak energy demand across its 46 client sites, which include Real Estate Investment Trust, The GPT Group, City of Sydney, ActewAGL and QIC.
Atlanta-based startup, Urjanet provides large enterprises with a technology platform which aggregates and standardizes utility data to help lower energy costs, reduce carbon footprint and evaluate long-term energy investments. The company completed a $20 million Series C investment in March 2017, led by Oak HC/FT, a Greenwich, Conn. based venture growth-equity fund.
Powerhouse Dynamics offers an asset and energy management system, SiteSage, which is designed to connect, monitor, analyze and control equipment for portfolios of small commercial facilities. Their customers are restaurant chains, convenience store chains, small box retail chains and bank branches, among others. In February 2017, Emerald Technology Ventures participated in a $6 million financing round in the company alongside existing investors, Constellation New Energy, Point Judith Capital, SOSVentures, and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
Nuuka Solutions, a Finnish SaaS company established in 2013, provides a cloud based building process analytics platform to centrally monitor and manage the energy efficiency, indoor air quality and HVAC performance of real estate portfolios. The company has around 1,000 buildings under management in 2017 and is now aiming to expand further in the Nordic region, Benelux, USA and China. The company closed a financing round in January 2017 that was joined by Zhejiang ZhongRui Low Carbon Technology Co., Cleantech Invest and by several other investors. The Finnish Technology Agency, Tekes will also provide a grant of 100,000 EUR for investments in China.
IoT is clearly not only a hot topic, but a hot investment opportunity not only for the venture capital market, but also for the various players across the supply chain. Strategic investors, VC and PE firms are expecting to capitalize on the projected growth in the market.