Energy

What’s Behind Brainbox AI’s Acquisition of Turntide’s Automation Division?

This Research Note highlights the background to Brainbox AI’s acquisition of the Automation division of Turntide Technologies focusing on the development of both startups and the strategic rationale of the transaction. Brainbox AI BrainBox AI was founded in 2017 with the goal of redefining building automation through artificial intelligence to address the dilemma currently facing the built environment: its energy consumption and significant contribution to climate change. Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, BrainBox AI supports clients in real estate sectors, including office buildings, airports, hotels, multi-residential, long-term care facilities, grocery stores and commercial retail. This is Brainbox AI’s second acquisition to date since the startup acquired ABB’s EMS Retail division in May 2023. ABB’s multi-site retail (MSR) energy management system integrator business was intended to be integrated with Brainbox AI’s optimization technology to help retailers reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and utility costs without replacing their existing environmental management system (EMS). Turntide Technologies Founded in […]

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This Research Note highlights the background to Brainbox AI’s acquisition of the Automation division of Turntide Technologies focusing on the development of both startups and the strategic rationale of the transaction.

Brainbox AI

BrainBox AI was founded in 2017 with the goal of redefining building automation through artificial intelligence to address the dilemma currently facing the built environment: its energy consumption and significant contribution to climate change.

Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, BrainBox AI supports clients in real estate sectors, including office buildings, airports, hotels, multi-residential, long-term care facilities, grocery stores and commercial retail.

This is Brainbox AI’s second acquisition to date since the startup acquired ABB’s EMS Retail division in May 2023. ABB’s multi-site retail (MSR) energy management system integrator business was intended to be integrated with Brainbox AI’s optimization technology to help retailers reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and utility costs without replacing their existing environmental management system (EMS).

Turntide Technologies

Founded in 2014 in Sunnyvale, California, and formerly known as Software Motor Company, Turntide Technologies is the company responsible for the Smart Motor System, a software-controlled switched reluctance motor technology that has diverse applications ranging from off-highway, on-highway vehicles, e-mobility, industrial machines, marine, rail, and automotive industries.

With their predominant focus on the automotive and transportation sectors, it can be concluded that the building automation business was no longer within Turntide Technologies' core portfolio.

Riptide Acquisition

In March 2021, Turntide Technologies acquired Riptide, a Santa Barbara, California-based cloud-based building automation software company founded in 2012 by former management at Cisco Systems Smart Connected Buildings group. Riptide’s platform was reported to be deployed in over 50 million square feet of space at the time.

The acquisition of Riptide’s building automation solution accelerated the development of Turntide’s BOS (Building Operating System) platform.

Launched in September 2021, Turntide for Buildings is a full-stack intelligent building solution, that combines Turntide’s Smart Motor System with automation software, and connected edge equipment to improve energy efficiency and streamline building operations while reducing downtime and maintenance costs.

Brainbox AI Acquisition Turntide

Deployments

Turntide targeted companies with large real estate portfolios, such as retailers, or companies managing large warehouse networks where climate control is critical, said Marti Ogram, head of strategic accounts in January 2024. Other customers include department store chain Canadian Tire (at 600 locations) and two big U.S. mall operations, Macerich and Ivanhoe Cambridge.

Turntide’s deployments in the UK were reported in 2021 when the company installed Turntide for Buildings within major retailer, Wilko’s estate of 400 UK stores. However, all branches were closed when Wilko fell into administration and collapsed in August 2023.

The Automation business unit has grown extensively under Turntide’s stewardship. Currently, it has more than 1,900 connected buildings located in North America and Europe, including leading Fortune 500 retail and banking companies.

In the last year, Brainbox AI has augmented its current light commercial controls offering and extended its reach in the multi-site retail facilities market through acquisitions.

This article was written by Daphne Tomlinson, Senior Research Associate at Memoori.

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