Delivering Building Automation 2.0
By Brian Walsh, Head of WIND Ventures
75F is a hot small business based in often-chilly Minnesota. Founder Deepinder (Deep) Singh, a software engineer by training, started brainstorming 75F a decade ago after he was frustrated with his efforts to control the temperature in the baby’s room of his drafty house.
He devised a smart HVAC solution that makes commercial buildings more comfortable and energy-efficient. Using the Internet of Things (IoT), 75F harnesses the power of the cloud and packs it into smart control devices to make people more comfortable. 75F’s self-optimizing system does all the work while people enjoy comfort and savings. Building efficiency is a crucial part of solving climate change, which is why we’ve invested as part of 75F’s Series A financing to support the veteran team and the company’s continued growth.
Building automation startups have a rough history. Most have failed. It is a difficult market for two primary reasons: 1) success requires improving the occupant experience first and reducing energy consumption as a consequence, and 2) solutions today are very expensive. Currently, only 10% of global buildings — the largest and most sophisticated — have a building automation solution. As a result, buildings today account for 40% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While difficult, the building sector absolutely needs a new approach and 75F is the leading contender.
It’s clear that we need to automate buildings in order to solve climate change, but there is no mature solution that can actually do this (or even come close). This creates a compelling opportunity for a different approach. This is, in short, is our investment thesis for 75F. They have cracked the code in automating the majority (versus the minority) of global buildings so that the building sector can contribute to solving climate change as part of good business practices. 75F’s unique positioning is a result of four key elements that allow it to earn recognition as the leader in the next generation of Building Automation (or Building Automation 2.0).
- Uniquely full stack: Tapping into existing building automation solutions to acquire data, and then attempting to optimize it, fails to address the majority of buildings that cannot adopt existing solutions. These existing solutions also rely on poor data quality from dated sensor technology. 75F takes the bold strategy of providing the best hardware to generate the best data to then create the best, most effective, optimization. Data quality is key, and 75F stands alone in its ability to solve this.
- Easy to install: Hardware can be difficult but 75F has created a few number of hardware elements that serve a very large spectrum of purposes. So, in its superior approach to getting high-quality data, 75F has designed its hardware elements to be super simple and easy to install. They call it software-designed hardware.
- Delivers EQ2: Occupant Experience + Operational Efficiency: ultimately, built environment market stakeholders care most about what drives their businesses. The occupant experience is center to this, not energy efficiency. To cater to the true market interests, 75F has mastered its value around healthier, more comfortable, more productive, and more desirable environments. Energy efficiency is a secondary consequence.
- Disruptively low costs: Lastly, all of this is offered for a very low price, creating an exceptional ROI to the market and, finally, creating a compelling building automation solution for the majority of the built environment, not just to the largest and most sophisticated 10% of buildings.
It is not surprising that 75F is now closing channel deals that previous building automation startups only dreamed about. WIND Ventures is now working quickly to bring the solution to Latin America where there is a very large, untapped market.
Lastly, we are very keen on 75F’s ability to re-open buildings quicker and safer with its Epidemic Mode. It leverages 75F’s unique capabilities to manage airflow to predictably reduce airborne viruses. We are proud to be part of what is especially good timing for venture investing.
About Brian Walsh
Brian Walsh leads WIND Ventures in San Francisco — the strategic venture capital group for Copec, which is a leading energy and retail corporation throughout Latin America and the United States. Brian has two decades of venture capital experience in the San Francisco Bay Area, both in private and strategic venture capital. Most recently, Brian was an Associate Partner and Senior Expert at McKinsey&Company where he led the Firm’s corporate venturing advisory efforts with global Fortune 500 CEO clients. Brian holds an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a BS in Physics from Tufts University.
About WIND Ventures
Based in San Francisco, WIND Ventures is the corporate venture capital (CVC) arm of Copec, one of the leading energy companies in Central and South America and one of the most valued brands throughout Latin America. WIND Ventures leverages Copec’s significant resources to accelerate growth, primarily within Latin America, for startups and scaleups across the world within the new mobility, energy and retail sectors. Visit windventures.vc or follow us on Linkedin and Twitter.