In this Research Note, we examine trends in job losses in the smart buildings startup space. The analysis is based on LinkedIn headcount reduction data over the past two years and our own compilation of statistics relating to startups undergoing redundancies, restructuring and downsizing. We have highlighted 8 examples of job losses in the BIoT and digital twin platforms sector. Next week, we will cover job losses in Occupancy Analytics and Workplace Experience startups.
We have tracked 105 startups, across a representative sample of the diverse businesses operating in the smart buildings space in Europe and North America. Our data relates to a two-year period between October 2021 and October 2023, with an emphasis on headcount reductions in the past year.
Smart Buildings Job Losses Summary
- 37% of companies, (39 startups) tracked have reduced their headcount over the past two years.
- 16 startups have experienced higher job losses in the past year.
- Sectors identified as being particularly hard hit include IoT platforms and Digital Twin solutions (covered in this article) and Occupancy Analytics and Workplace Experience solutions – to be covered in Part 2.
Animated Insights Inc. is a New York-based startup offering Digital Twin technology solutions across industry and infrastructure. The company was founded in 2018 as a spinoff of ECS, an established systems integrator partner of Schneider Electric.
As of October 2023, Animated Insights had 9 employees according to Linkedin, a 70% headcount reduction over the past year since October 2022. The assets of the company have subsequently been sold to Clockworks Analytics, with one staff member transferring to the new owner.
Infogrid and Aquicore
Infogrid, a London, UK-based startup founded in 2018, provides an Internet of Things (IoT) platform to enable smart buildings by combining real-time IoT sensors with proprietary AI analysis to translate data into insight. The firm announced a restructuring program and redundancies in December 2022.
Just seven weeks earlier on 2nd November, Infogrid announced the acquisition of Washington DC-based Aquicore to strengthen its ESG data and analytics offering, as part of a period of high growth and rapid scaling. There were 305 employees recorded on Linkedin on 3rd January 2023, which we assumed included the team of 60 from Aquicore.
As of October 2023, Infogrid had 148 employees according to Linkedin, a 53% headcount reduction in the last year, while Aquicore reports 34 employees, a 41% headcount reduction in the same period.
Founded in 2015, New York-based Prescriptive Data was founded by real estate developer, Rudin Management, who spun off the company. It has developed NANTUM, a cloud-based, secure building operating system.
As of October 2023, Prescriptive Data had 38 employees according to Linkedin, a 25% headcount reduction over the last year since October 2022.
Switch Automation, headquartered in Denver, Colorada, is the provider of a smart buildings platform which integrates with traditional building systems as well as Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to analyze, automate and control assets in real-time. In April 2022, Switch Automation had close to 100 employees.
As of October 2023, Switch Automation had 51 employees according to Linkedin, a 33% headcount reduction in the last 2 years since October 2021.
Thoughtwire, the Toronto, Canada-based startup, is a developer of digital twin technology for applications in smart hospitals, smart buildings, and cities. According to LinkedIn data, headcount peaked at more than 100 employees in May 2022. The company
confirmed layoffs to BetaKit in September 2022, which were described as “modest reductions” in non-engineering roles.
As of October 2023, Thoughtwire had 42 employees according to Linkedin, a 50% headcount reduction in the last 2 years since October 2021 and a 35% decrease in the last year.
Willow, the Sydney, Australian provider of digital twin solutions for infrastructure and real estate, laid off 99 staff, 22% of its workforce on 24th December 2022, following a recalibration of company strategy. 72 full-time employees as well as 27 contractors have been laid off, with Australian employees reported to account for around 50% of the job losses, alongside the US team.
As of October 2023, Willow had 318 employees according to Linkedin, a 21% headcount reduction in the last year.
And finally, BuildingIQ, the US/Australian developer of a BIoT cloud-based platform designed to improve the energy efficiency of large, complex smart buildings. We covered the rise and fall of this company in March 2023. The company is not strictly a startup (defined as 10 years or less in operation), having been founded in 2009, but nevertheless it was an important early mover in IoT platforms for smart buildings.
As of October 2023, BuildingIQ had 12 employees, a decline of 20% over the last two years.
This article was written by Daphne Tomlinson, Senior Research Associate at Memoori.