Smart buildings market matures through strategic investments

Stockholm, Sweden

According to a recent report from Daphne Tomlinson, Senior Research Associate at Memoori, strategic investments from corporate stakeholders in the built environment have contributed to a maturing smart buildings space in the last quarter.

Investors supported a range of building technologies from IoT platforms, occupancy analytics, touchless security screening, microgrids, energy-as-a-service and more. This funding was often accompanied by partnership agreements enabling investors to apply the technology in their own business and property portfolios. As such, Daphne Tomlinson says that the number and type of smart building use cases has proliferated, allowing the various participants in the built environment to more easily assess the outcomes and benefits of particular technologies and business models.

Building IoT Platforms

Nordomatic, a leading Building Management System integrator in Scandinavia, announced a significant minority investment in Stockholm-based Altacogni AB. The investment enables Nordomatic to gain access to a perpetual, worldwide licensing and development resource for a leading Smart Buildings platform. Altacogni recently acquired a comprehensive Internet of Things software and hardware platform for smart buildings from Yanzi Networks, which declared bankruptcy in July 2020. The IoT platform handles 100,000,000 data points per day and operates more than 100,000 sensors in the United States, Europe and Asia.

Cohesion, an early-stage smart building SaaS company based in Chicago, USA, raised $6.5 million in seed funding to further invest in its IoT platform, which helps commercial real estate operators integrate their buildings’ systems, enhance tenant experiences, and provide actionable insights. The seed round includes an investment from Singapore-based multinational real estate group, Frasers Property Group. “The real estate industry is evolving rapidly. For Frasers Property to respond with agility, we’re looking at leveraging data-driven technologies to better manage our multi-national real estate portfolio,” said Panote Sirivadhanabhakdi, Group CEO, Frasers Property Limited.

Space OS also announced a new capital raise totalling €2.5 million. Tomlinson explains that this latest funding comes after Austrian commercial real estate group Immofinanz took a €2 million stake in Space OS, further strengthening the firms’ partnership, following a deal in December to roll-out the Space OS platform across the group’s entire portfolio. The SpaceOS tenant engagement app can be used to support management, meeting room and desk booking, access control, air quality monitoring, parking management, lease management as well as providing news and events communication.

Building energy management and energy services

Station A, a San Francisco startup founded in 2018 announced it had raised $3 million in venture capital seed funding to expand its platform for connecting commercial and industrial building owners across the USA with clean-energy developers. The goal is to scale an AI-powered clean energy marketplace to link solar and storage developers with property owners. SE Ventures, Schneider Electric’s corporate venture arm is one of the investors.

“This is clearly aligned with what Schneider is trying to build” through its microgrid and energy services businesses, Grant Allen, general partner at SE Ventures, said. “We have two different groups within Schneider already using it and paying for it.”

In another Q3 announcement, Schneider Electric has partnered with investors, Huck Capital and Inclusive Capital Partners to launch a new company focused on developing and operating on site microgrids targeting small and medium sized commercial buildings. The partnership will use investor-backed financing to let companies install ‘Energy-as-a-Service’ pre-engineered clean microgrids without paying for all the costs associated with installing and maintaining the systems up front.

Siemens has partnered with Singapore based Berkeley Energy Commercial Industrial Solutions (BECIS) to accelerate the deployment of distributed energy in Asia Pacific. Together, they will provide customers access to distributed energy solutions via a flexible ‘Energy as a Service’ (EaaS) model, allowing customers in the Asia Pacific market to pay for energy services without the need for any capital investment.

Under the agreements, Siemens’ financing arm – Siemens Financial Services (SFS) – becomes a major shareholder in BECIS while Siemens Smart Infrastructure (SI) will contribute technical expertise from its existing footprint in energy and performance services (EPS) projects to BECIS, complementing the latter’s experience in distributed energy generation solutions.

Physical security solutions

Google has announced a $450 million strategic investment in ADT, which is a 6.6% minority stake in the listed provider of residential, small and large business electronic security, fire protection and alarm monitoring services. Google will combine its Nest devices, services and technology with ADT’s leadership position in security monitoring, aiming to become the cornerstone of their smart home offering. While the immediate focus of the investment is on the residential side, ADT also indicated that longer-term growth opportunities for ADT’s commercial platform driven by innovation could also be accelerated by this investment.

Stanley Security, a global integrator of security solutions and the world’s second largest electronic security company, announced an investment in Evolv Technology, a provider of AI-based touchless security screening. This investment, backed by Stanley Ventures, the venture capital arm of Stanley Black & Decker, forms a strategic partnership between the two companies.

Evolv Technology’s systems provide additions to security programs at K-12 schools, higher education institutions, hospitals, sports venues, office and federal buildings, outdoor recreation venues and more. To date, the systems have been used to screen more than 50 million individuals at venues and facilities across the globe.

Allegion Ventures, the venture capital arm of Allegion, contributed to a Series C $36 million funding of Openpath Security, a US startup offering a mobile access control solution with cloud-based technology for the built world. Following on from their strategic investment in March 2020, the two companies are collaborating in a technology partnership to offer customers a seamless security experience beyond the entryway.

In conclusion, according to Tomlinson from Memoori, all this activity is a positive demonstration that partnerships and investments are playing an increasingly important role in implementing strategic goals for major stakeholders in the built environment, particularly in providing access to the range of innovative technologies being developed in the smart buildings space.


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