Five months after raising $15 million, PassiveLogic, which provides a platform for autonomous control of building systems, has received an additional $15 million in an “out-of-round” strategic investment from Nvidia’s venture arm, nVentures. The new cash brings PassiveLogic to more than $80 million in total and CEO Troy Harvey told TechCrunch that it will be used to expand the Utah-based company from 100 employees to 140 next year.
The investment represents a big vote of confidence in PassiveLogic, considering the startup has yet to release any products to the public (although a beta is planned for later this year). Nvidia may have won with PassiveLogic’s go-to-market strategy, securing initial contract commitments for the first two years of sales and distribution partners planning to incorporate PassiveLogic’s platform into construction and retrofit projects.
“We are impressed with PassiveLogic’s vision to advance the real estate industry in an autonomous way,” Mohammad Siddique, head of NiVentures, said in an emailed statement. “We are excited to support a world-class team with deep industry and technical expertise as they prepare to launch a highly differentiated solution with their first customers.”
Harvey in 2010 He co-founded PassiveLogic in 2016 with Jeremy Filigim, previously a partner at Mott Systems, where he designed the touch screen universal remote control. Harvey is the former CEO of Heliocentric, where he worked with clients to design “next generation” buildings.
PassiveLogic’s service – which runs on Nvidia’s Jetson computing platform – interfaces with legacy building systems using sensors, software and on-premise equipment. The software allows customers to create system models from 3D drawings or scans, which predict how building materials will interact to generate physics-based “digital twins.” Based on data from digital twins, PassiveLogic makes control and management decisions for real-world building systems.
“Our research indicates that the biggest benefit for total autonomy is buildings that represent 25% of the global economy,” Harvey told TechCrunch in an email interview. “Unlike cars, each building is unique, with completely customized control needs… A large building might have 500,000 inputs and outputs – or sensors and controlled degrees of freedom. That’s huge,” he said.
Beyond the aforementioned features, PassiveLogic automatically configures, names, and integrates building data into an ontology for use by third-party cloud applications. When asked about privacy, Harvey said that all of PassiveLogic’s computing and storage is at the edge, and that data (for example, from sensors) is stored on an isolated Internet that is inaccessible to other IT infrastructure.
“To get to the future of real estate, there needs to be a digital platform that can aggregate building data, allow building managers to customize automation controls and act on it in real time,” Harvey said. “[T]The PassiveLogic platform bridges the gap between IT and operational technology in the enterprise and supports workflows that recognize that building purchasing decisions are often controlled by contractors, not the C-level.
While PassiveLogic currently focuses on buildings and infrastructure, Harvey believes the company’s technology is applicable to other control systems such as energy grids and logistics and supply chain facilities. The long-term plan is to adapt Passivology products to a wider range of markets, including the utility and networking sectors.
Competitors in the space include Honeywell, which recently launched an AI-powered building control system, and HVAC management startups BrainBox and 75F. There’s also Mesa, from Sidewalk Labs, which is designed to help commercial building operators improve their existing climate control systems.