Smart buildings sector funding at an all time high

Gothenburg, Sweden

A noticeable trend in this half-year was investor backing for later stage funding and growth capital, indicating a greater level of maturity and confidence in the smart building sector.

Funding in the Smart Buildings sector is at an all-time high as the first half of 2021 shows deal values of over $5.1B, according to researchers at Memoori. This figure has surpassed the previous record by over 5% compared with the second half of 2018 ($4.9B) and by over 14% in the second half of 2020 ($4.5B). In terms of the number of transactions, Memoori recorded 170 funding rounds, a decrease of around 12% from the second half of 2020, when over 190 deals were identified.

Although the number of deals decreased, we are seeing an increase in US dollar values across all types of funding. Seed funding, Series A to E rounds and growth capital all attracted higher levels of investment in the sector," explains Daphne Tomlinson, Senior Research Associate at Memoori.

The Proptech segment attracted over 30% of funding rounds this half year. The Memoori “proptech” definition focuses on real estate technology which addresses the management and operational phase of the commercial and industrial building lifecycle across ten technology areas. It therefore excludes technology for the design, construction, purchasing, financing, leasing and sale of commercial real estate. Of note were investments in areas such as Workplace Management, Occupancy Analytics, and Tenant Experience solutions for the office sector Mapiq, Locatee, Nuvolo, Density, Deskbird, Equiem, Maptician, Saltmine, Space OS & Pointgrab.

Retail sector-focused startups

Platforms for Specialised Vertical Markets was also an notable sector for funding. This area involves retail sector-focused startups developing checkout-free technology and AI-enabled computer vision solutions for convenience stores, including Grabango, Standard Cognition, Trigo, Trax and Zippin. In addition, companies involved in Asset and Maintenance Management are a focus.  The companies use a range of technologies including image recognition, AI, robotics, satellite data, and automated platforms to accurately assess building inspection, compliance, and facility maintenance requirements – Arturo,, Wemaintain, Viabot, Uptick, Maintain X, Safehub and Satsense.

Later stage funding shows maturing market

A noticeable trend in this half-year was investor backing for later stage funding and growth capital, indicating a greater level of maturity and confidence in the smart building sector, with increased $ values in Series C, D, and E rounds.  For example, project financing of $500M was completed by Greenstruxure, a developer and operator of microgrids. The Schneider Electric and Huck Capital joint venture will offer customers in medium-sized U.S. commercial and industrial facilities a turnkey Energy as a Service solution that gives them the energy outcomes they need to meet their business and sustainability goals with no upfront capital outlay and no operational risks.

Strategic investors

Strategic investors and corporate VC units participated in 39% of all deals in the first half of 2021. Two significant investments include Viessmann, the German HVAC equipment manufacturer, completed a strategic investment in Priva, a second-tier Dutch manufacturer of building management systems. The minority stake enables Viessmann to rapidly develop its business in climate solutions for commercial buildings.

And, Schneider Electric, appear once again, having acquired a 30% minority stake in Uplight, formerly known as Tendril, a Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions provider to more than 80 regulated utility companies representing 110 million residential, commercial and industrial end-users in North America. The strategic investment in Uplight will enhance Schneider Electric’s existing Ecostruxure Grid offering and has further potential to play a key enabling role between Smart Grid, Smart Home and Smart Building.

"Bearing in mind that 18% of the funding rounds did not disclose investment amounts, an unprecedented level of financial support is currently being pumped into the smart buildings sector," concludes Daphne Tomlinson.


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