This article was written by Daphne Tomlinson, Senior Research Associate at Memoori.
Corporate venture capital continues to play an important role in funding innovations in the smart building space. The major incumbents providing building technologies and real estate services in commercial and industrial facilities are facing competitive pressure from a wave of smart building startups, in the continuing race towards IoT and data-driven buildings.
Many of the major players have increased their investments in innovation through venture
funding, according to our latest Startups Report. The importance of corporate investors in the development of technologies and applications for smart buildings is evident over the years we have been tracking venture capital funding in this sector. They have filled the gap caused by venture capital firms withdrawing from clean technology investments.
In Q1 2021, Memoori recorded a high level of corporate participation in investments in around 38% (23) of the 60 deals in the smart buildings space. Recent strategic investors in the smart buildings space have included HVAC and BMS firms, lighting companies, real estate service firms, energy management players and oil and gas majors.
Some of the key investors during the last 6 months are highlighted below.
COPEC, one of the leading energy, mobility and retail companies in Central and South America and one of the most valued brands throughout Latin America has invested in 75F. WIND Ventures, the corporate venture capital (CVC) group of Copec, led an additional $4.75 million funding round in 75F, a provider of a vertically-integrated IoT-based building management system. Their solution includes wireless sensors, equipment controllers, and cloud-based software that deliver predictive HVAC and lighting automation out of the box. "WIND is instrumental to 75F's entry and success in new geographical markets" said Deepinder Singh, founder and CEO of 75F.
JLL, the leading real estate services firm, invested in Infogrid. In December 2020, Infogrid, a provider of an Internet of Things (IoT) platform to enable smart buildings, raised $15.5m in Series A funding. The round was led by Northzone with participation from JLL Spark, Concrete VC, The Venture Collective and Jigsaw VC. JLL also recently invested in two other proptech companies - VergeSense, an AI-powered sensor-as-a-service platform provider and Saltmine, a provider of a cloud-based workplace design platform offering space utilization insights.
Honeywell Building Technologies completed a strategic investment in Trinity Mobility, an India-based software company and provider of an IoT Smart Cities platform and software applications. Honeywell and Trinity have worked together for more than five years to deploy multiple smart city projects, including the New Administrative Capital of Egypt and Faridabad in India. Honeywell's strategic investment will allow it to expand the reach of its smart city capabilities to additional international markets.
Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management participated in Clockworks Analytics Series D $8 million funding round in Dec 2020. Clockworks Analytics, formerly KGS Buildings, founded in 2008 out of MIT’s Building Technology Department, claims to be the most widely used cloud-based buildings analytics platform in the world, with its technology deployed in 420 million square feet of property across every building type in over 20 countries. Schneider Electric previously announced a strategic technology agreement with Clockworks Analytics to bring its automated fault detection and diagnostics to Schneider Electric’s building energy management solutions and services and invested $2 million in the company in 2016.
CBRE and Engie participate in a $156.5 million funding round in Redaptive, a US provider of Energy-Efficiency-as-a-Service for commercial and industrial customers. Redaptive enables energy efficiency retrofit programs without upfront capital and guarantees results using directly measured building data. CBRE and Engie both previously made a strategic investment in Redaptive to bring its Energy-Efficiency-as-a-Service model to their clients.
Shell lead investment in US blockchain pioneer, LO3 Energy, which has secured $11 million in a Series B funding to scale its activities in markets internationally. LO3 has continued to enhance and extend Pando, its cloud platform accounting for emerging client interactions with distributed energy resources (DERs).
Emerson, a leader in the HVAC controls industry, as well as the creator of the Sensi smart thermostat, made a major strategic investment in Awair. The San Francisco-based startup makes Indoor Air Quality monitoring and software solutions for home and commercial spaces.
Corporate venture capital units are proving to be consistent investors in the smart buildings space, supporting startups and established players with disruptive business models or technology.