Building Robotics secures seed funds from Navitas Capital, Formation 8, Claremont Creek & others
OAKLAND, CA–(Marketwired – Nov 7, 2013) – Building Robotics, creator of software for people in commercial buildings, today announced a $1.14M seed financing round by Claremont Creek Ventures (CCV), Google Ventures, Formation 8, Navitas Capital, Red Swan Ventures and prominent angel investors.
Building Robotics’ initial product, Comfy, is the first to meaningfully reconnect people to the heating and cooling in their work environments, providing more comfortable spaces while saving energy. The software installs quickly and easily and is compatible with most existing building management systems, while providing occupants with a mobile and web application. It provides instant warm or cool air to people, while incorporating their usage patterns and feedback into a machine-learning algorithm that reduces energy.
Uncomfortable Temperature A Familiar Problem
“Who hasn’t been in an office or conference room that was so uncomfortable you couldn’t get any work done?” asks Building Robotics CEO Andrew Krioukov. “The number one complaint of office workers is being too hot or cold. Comfy gives you the ability to tailor temperature to your needs. And by doing so it yields significant energy savings, because we know when and where conditioning is needed, and when it’s not.”
“What’s exciting about Building Robotics is their refreshing, new approach to software for buildings,” says Nat Goldhaber, Managing Director of CCV. “Instead of just focusing on how to make the equipment run better, these guys are asking a more fundamental question: What is heating and cooling really for? It’s 100% to make people comfortable, so let’s create a system that allows buildings to meet that need without all of the typical energy waste and discomfort. Also Building Robotics’ business strategy fits perfectly within Claremont Creek Ventures’ investment thesis. CCV invests in companies that are merging intelligent, comprehensive product design with innovative technology to give the user an empowering, productive experience. Comfy does exactly that.”
Comfy has gained traction in the commercial real estate market with pilot deployments at large Bay Area technology companies, as well as in a large federal building, through the General Services Administration’s Green Proving Ground (GPG) program. The GSA is the nation’s largest landlord and manages 300 million square feet of office space for the federal government. Comfy was selected as one of five innovations for the 2013 program from over 100 applicants.
A New Paradigm In Software For Buildings
Comfy builds on an open-source platform developed by co-founders Andrew Krioukov and Stephen Dawson-Haggerty during their time as Ph.D. researchers in Computer Science at UC Berkeley’s LoCal Group. They developed a software architecture for buildings that allows for elegant scalability across a large, existing building stock and for rapid application development.
“This is a paradigm-shift in the way people operate buildings. It is an impressively well-considered intervention in the controls landscape. We’ve been waiting for something like this for a while, so it’s really exciting to see it finally come to life, and it has an ability to scale that we rarely see in the building industry,” says Peter Rumsey, ASHRAE Fellow and Senior Fellow at the Rocky Mountain Institute and an advisor and investor in Building Robotics. “It has the potential to radically shift how people interact with buildings in their daily lives.”
This investment will allow Building Robotics to add expertise in building management, development, back-end operations, and user experience design.
About Building Robotics
Building Robotics is on a mission to harmonize energy use and comfort in commercial buildings with software that everyone in a building will love. Pioneering a unique approach to optimize building controls through elegant software and machine learning, the company develops intuitive occupant-facing controls that sit on top of existing HVAC and management systems in commercial buildings. The firm’s first product, Comfy, ultimately improves comfort and productivity while simultaneously achieving energy savings.