Cleantech Market Intelligence
BuildingIQ Lands Financing Round from Building Industry Stalwarts
BuildingIQ, a vendor of building energy management systems (BEMS) based in San Mateo, California, recently announced a $9 million round of venture financing. The round was backed by Aster Capital (which is supported by Schneider Electric, Alstom, and Solvay), Siemens Financial Services’ Venture Capital unit, and Paladin Capital.
This financing round will help BuildingIQ scale up its North American marketing and operations efforts as well as invest more deeply in R&D. BuildingIQ’s product line, which includes four key applications today focusing on building energy optimization, occupant comfort, demand response, and enterprise energy management, is one of the few offerings that not only identifies potential energy and operational improvements but also automatically makes changes to a building’s building management system (BMS) to execute those improvements.
But what’s most notable about this round of funding is the lineup of industry-leading firms that contributed to it. Companies like Schneider Electric (vendor of the StruxureWare energy and operations management platform) and Siemens (which sells DESIGO automation control software) are already deeply engaged in the energy management market. However, as I’ve discussed in previous blogs, companies in the smart building industry that would traditionally be in competition with each other are now forming partnerships and collaborating to bring offerings to market. Often called “co-opetition,” this trend serves as a sign that the demands of smart building technology exceed the capabilities of any single firm, and value is best delivered when individual firms focus on core strengths rather than compete on the sheer breadth of their solution.
Co-Op to Stand Out
This is not the first time that BuildingIQ has engaged in co-opetition. In March of last year, it announced a strategic alliance with Schneider Electric at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco. In November, it announced that it would be offering its predictive energy optimization capability as part of Johnson Controls’ energy management platform, Panoptix. Johnson Controls is also engaging other software vendors, such as EnergyPoints Analytics, on the Panoptix platform. It’s also notable that this funding round represents the first time that Schneider Electric and Siemens have co-invested in a venture.
When I spoke last week with Mike Zimmermann, the CEO of Building IQ, he discussed the importance of co-opetition to success in the increasingly competitive building energy management market. “Given the number of offerings in the market, you have to stand out, both in terms of your solution, and how you work with the large industry players in the market,” he said. “It was important for us to find the right kind of capital to support our growth, with investors that will not only help us scale up, but also provide complementary offerings as we improve and differentiate BuildingIQ’s platform.”
In our recent report, “Building Energy Management Technology Landscape,” we argue that companies will do best in this market when their market-leading offerings are supported by those of other firms. So you can expect to see more collaborative efforts like this in the future.