Smart Buildings

Airthings Commercial Building Business Examined

Airthings is a Norwegian tech company focused on air quality sensing that is making a name for itself on a global stage. Recent deals with the likes of Carrier, Walmart, and Home Depot have bolstered hardware sales channels, while newer SaaS approaches are improving their results. However, the past year has had its challenges as the company completed its full IPO and tackled an expanding market. In this research note, we examine recent financials and business moves that indicate Airthings' strategies in the commercial buildings space. The firm was established in 2008, under its previous name Corentium, by a group of scientists working together at CERN. They realized that the testing of airborne contaminants, like radon, was limited to cumbersome visits from professionals and laboratory analysis, so they developed more convenient and smarter sensor technology and the company was born. By 2011 the company had launched its first product, the Corentium, a handheld radon scanner, […]

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Airthings is a Norwegian tech company focused on air quality sensing that is making a name for itself on a global stage. Recent deals with the likes of Carrier, Walmart, and Home Depot have bolstered hardware sales channels, while newer SaaS approaches are improving their results. However, the past year has had its challenges as the company completed its full IPO and tackled an expanding market. In this research note, we examine recent financials and business moves that indicate Airthings' strategies in the commercial buildings space.

The firm was established in 2008, under its previous name Corentium, by a group of scientists working together at CERN. They realized that the testing of airborne contaminants, like radon, was limited to cumbersome visits from professionals and laboratory analysis, so they developed more convenient and smarter sensor technology and the company was born.

By 2011 the company had launched its first product, the Corentium, a handheld radon scanner, and the Corentium Plus arrived in 2013 with new features. In 2015, they rebranded to “Airthings” and expanded into the US market, alongside the launch of the Wave series of air quality sensors in, including the Airthings Wave App.

The firm launched Airthings for Business in 2019, offering air quality solutions to commercial real estate, which joins the company’s other two business units; Airthings for Consumers - for residential spaces, and Airthings for Professionals - providing tech to air quality service providers. In 2020, the firm added Mold Risk indication tech, and in 2021 it launched its latest range of air quality products, their View sensor series.

Recent growth has been fueled by funding from exchange listings. In October 2020, Airthings listed on Olso’s secondary Merkur Market (now called the Euronext Growth market Oslo), in a boom year for the exchange with over 40 new entrants, up from three the previous year. Then, on the 24th of June 2022, Airthings became a publicly listed company on the main list of the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSE) under the ticker AIRX.

“Airthings achieves another milestone today, joining the main list at the Oslo Stock Exchange. We believe this will enable us to access a broader base of international and institutional investors and allow us to demonstrate our value proposition as the global leading air quality company to a wider audience,” CEO Øyvind Birkenes said. “Supported by a megatrend of increasing regulations and continuous focus on sustainability and health, we remain confident in our goal to reach USD 100 million in annual revenue by 2024.”

Since joining the exchange last summer, Airthings stock price has risen from NOK 3.8 ($0.38) to NOK 5 ($0.50) and back down to 3.5-3.7 in recent weeks, a significant drop on the NOK 10 plus it regularly achieved in the secondary market. Despite a slow start on share price gains, the company’s financials have been strong.

In its last annual report, published in March 2022, Airthings reported a strong year with USD 33.7 million in revenue, an increase of 60% despite a component shortage from global supply chain issues. Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) came in at USD 2.9 million, representing growth of 153% from the previous year. Gross profit of USD 20.6 million up 55% YoY, but margin of 61% was a decline from the previous year, which the firm attributes to changes to the consumer (home) segment and higher component prices.

While growth was solid across all three business segments, the commercial buildings segment —Airthings for Business— was the highest achiever with which grew from $1.4 million in revenues in 2020 to USD 6.9 million in 2021, a 386% rise.

As a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering, Airthings for Business has fundamentally changed the way the company works. Targeting facility managers and building owners, it offers a sensor network that includes; temperature, humidity, pressure, CO2, VOC, particulate matter, light, noise, and the firm’s foundational radon sensing. Users can monitor the building remotely through a dashboard that also combines data to provide risk scores for mold and viruses, such as COVID-19.

The system is scalable and offers Airthings APIs that can integrate with building management systems (BMS) within a broader ecosystem. Airthings has targeted office, healthcare, and education verticals with its business unit, as well as facilities management companies. The company’s product development and growth has also been supported by a number of key business partnerships in the last year.

Airthings Partnerships

In July 2021, Airthings signed an agreement with Edwards, a Carrier Global Corporation brand. The agreement commercializes Airthings’ business solution through more than 500 Edwards channel partners in the fire and security segment of North America, extending the distribution of Airthings technology across the region. The partnership involved integration with Carriers digital platform, Abound, improving channel sales potential.

“Entering a strategic agreement with a brand like Carrier is a massive step that will accelerate the evolution of air quality monitoring into an indispensable aspect of any HVAC system or building safety solution,” remarked Oyvind Birkenes, CEO of Airthings after the deal.

Then in October last year, Airthings announced a partnership with Norwegian ventilation firm Lindlab. The pair are developing retrofit smart Variable Air Volume (VAV) dampers that automatically regulate the air in a room or zone of a building. By integrating sensory information from Airthings’ wireless cloud-enabled sensors with Lindab's UltraLink dampers, they hope to automate and optimize air volume control. The retrofit market represents a significant opportunity for Airthings flexible sensors, as underlined by this partnership.

In the education sector, Airthings joined forces with Neogreen to monitor air quality in schools in the La Réunion region of France. The health of children at school is a growing concern for governments and school administrators under pressure from increasingly health-concious parents.

In healthcare, Airthings partnered with Long Love initiative delivering air quality support to premature infants last November. And, in its residential business segments, the firm signed major distribution deals with US retailers in 2021, including Walmart in March, CVS Health in June, and Home Depot in October. Then, in January 2022, the firm announced a strategic partnership with AprilAire, involving platform integration with the residential HVAC specialist.

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