The smart buildings industry is going through a revolution.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there’s been a rapid increase in the adoption of digital technologies and this trend isn’t going away. According to Gartner, 47% of businesses plan to increase their investments in the Internet of Things (IoT) throughout 2021.
Smart buildings start-ups are at the heart of this trend, providing technology to optimise everything from occupancy to energy use, which in turn is improving sustainability, wellbeing and reducing costs.
Working as a recruiter within this market, I come across exciting start-ups every day. Each has their own unique story and innovative technology to match.
In this article, I want to share five upcoming companies in Europe that you need to know about.
Let’s start in the UK with the proptech start-up, Metrikus.
Having launched in 2019, this company has been growing rapidly thanks to its innovative platform that evaluates data from BMS - HVAC sensors. This growth has been supported by impressive investment, which totalled at €5.6 million by the end of 2020.
This May, Metrikus added to its offering with a starter kit and I expect this to be popular among the many building owners that want to sample the benefits of a smart building without undergoing an expensive and time-consuming trial.
The company’s new all-in-one smart buildings starter kit contains 11 sensors, which allow occupiers to begin gaining meaningful insight on indoor air quality monitoring, occupancy monitoring and proximity monitoring. It also includes sensors for feedback and touch.
Built with partners Disruptive Technologies, Awair and Yanz, this kit will help customers overcome the hurdles of upgrading their real estate into smart buildings and improve occupant safety throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
With technology like this, it’s no wonder that Metrikus has secured one of the three places on the inaugural Aldar Scale Up accelerator programme. This will create opportunity for the start-up in the UAE region and is expected prompt major employment growth.
Finnish start-up, GBuilder, has also been selected for the accelerator programme.
GBuilder is a building information modeling (BIM) compatible software package designed for both residential and commercial developers. It digitises the customer journey including the choice of materials and modification, provides visualisations and streamlines communication processes.
The ConTech platform counts over 30,000 housing units processed, with Scandinavia’s largest residential developers including YIT, Bonava and Hartela all using the software.
This March, the Finnish start-up successfully completed a new €2 million financing round, which is expected to accelerate GBuilder’s expansion in its target markets of the UK and DACH regions.
Moving into France, lands us at the headquarters of MonBuilding.
This start-up provides a tenant experience software (BtoBtoC) that improves the building experience for tenants and building managers.
Since launching in 2016, the company has been on an extraordinary journey. Early clients included the like of the Official Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation of Barcelona (Cambra de Barcelona). Now, MonBuilding manages more than 550 buildings in Europe, with offices in Madrid, Paris and Lyon.
This May, the French start-up was selected by DCB International Group and La Française REM to equip the iconic "Crayon" tower in Lyon. Both have placed tenant experience at the forefront of their strategy.
Like MonBuilding, BuildingMinds operates on mainland Europe and has a vast amount of potential.
Formed in 2019 by Schindler, the start-up set out to optimise the management of real estate assets through a software-as-a-service platform. This project has not disappointed.
In partnership with Microsoft, BuildingMinds technology leverages the full potential of the multinational’s leading technology and expertise by using it as a basis for a cloud-native solution. Microsoft’s comprehensive and market-leading AI capabilities are rooted in BuildingMinds’ real estate management solution.
Together, the companies have also founded the International Building Performance & Data Initiative (IBPDI). The core of this collaboration is based on the joint development of an open Common Data Model for Real Estate, unlocking the potential of data for customers to enable a new level of business analytics.
This Common Data Model metadata system makes it possible for data and its meaning to be shared across applications and business processes such as Microsoft Power Apps, Power BI, Dynamics 365 and Azure.
Staying in Germany, Dabbel offers a cloud-based AI software that plugs into the building management systems (BMS) of commercial buildings to run the energy systems autonomously and in real time.
Since its inception in 2018, the company has aimed to eliminate dependence on human interaction to control and operate energy systems and technical installations in buildings. Implementation of Dabbel’s solution takes less than one week and can be done remotely and without requiring upfront costs, CAPEX or infrastructure adjustments.
Through its predictive modelling approach, the start-up’s edge AI automatically compensates for data gaps produced by commercial buildings that aren’t equipped with ideal IoT or smart building infrastructure. This then calibrates the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system in the building, reducing up to 40% of its energy consumption as well as carbon emissions too.
Dabbel has received multiple accolades, which include making the Top 100 European PropTech Startups in 2019 and being selected as a semi-finalist for the PropTech Startup and Scale-up Europe Awards 2021 of the European PropTech Association.
Backed by a €3.6 million Pre-Series A funding round that ended this May, the company is well backed to continue its impressive growth.
Thanks to start-ups like these five, smart technology is here to stay. Digital transformation is set to reshape the buildings industry forever, turning our buildings into sentient spaces which we can continuously and responsively adapt with data-driven decision making.
Of course, there are hundreds of start-ups that I’ve not been able to mention which is a shame because I know that there is so much exciting and important work being done in smart buildings right now.
If you’d like to tell me about your start-up and the important work you’re doing, I’d love to have a chat. Please give me an email via firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get a call set-up.
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