InfoGrid, a startup that uses AI to collect and analyze data such as air quality, occupancy and energy consumption, announced today that it has raised $90 million in a Series B round led by Northzone and AO Proptech. InfoGrid CEO William Cowell de Grouchy said the funds will be used for product development, strategic hiring and customer acquisition efforts.
“Now was the time to use the capital to grow and drive our expansion,” De Grouchy said. We are coming from 5x growth last year and the market is demanding solutions… We chose equity because alongside capital we want strategic partners to help us to the next level and we invest both VCs and customers and partners. . This brings more value than cash.
De Grouchy – who has an impressive background, having studied reg warfare and served as an army officer before settling into quiet and white-collar work due diligence – founded Infogrid in 2018. For strategic consulting firm Drystone Strategy, De Gruchy regularly visits companies he has “due diligence” on for private equity deals, including dairies, roofing companies and distribution warehouses.
During these “diligent” visits, de Grouchy observed what he described as a lack of real-time digital data and “operational efficiency,” as well as health risks and environmental issues surrounding buildings and facilities.
When I asked why people weren’t using current technologies — such as cloud computing, cellular communications, and sensors — to solve this problem, they responded the same way over and over again. It was too complicated and too expensive,” de Grouchy told TechCrunch in an email interview. “I set out to answer that problem and overcome the existing solution – the clipboard – and this is the seed of what InfoGrid is today.”
The Infogrid platform, powered by AI, collects and analyzes data from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to help asset managers and owners optimize the performance of their various buildings. Through IoT sensors developed by an ecosystem of hardware partners, Infogrid can measure domains such as crowding, air quality and cleaning needs in buildings, for example monitoring energy use and CO2 levels in relation to crowding. In building, clients can make a difference in sustainability outcomes and operating costs.
As De Grouchy explains, the types of customers adopting InfoGrid often want to address facility management issues such as eliminating unnecessary cleaning, Legionella compliance, or environmental, social and governance reporting.
“We collect about 4 billion data points per month, up from 500 million a year ago, and we’re growing exponentially,” De Grouchy said. “This trains our AI, and then refines it with user feedback, making it better.”
InfoGrid competes with a number of companies in the buildings management space, including BrainBox, Aquicore and Sidewalklabs’ Mesa, whose algorithms make fine adjustments to climate control and control systems. Meanwhile, Facilio and Buildings IOT, two other competitors, have installed and configured building control systems and brought together data from those systems in a single management interface.
The growing number of competitors coincides with an increase in VC investments in IoT companies. In the year IoT companies raising funds in 2022 will bring in an average of $15.9 million, up 30% from last year, according to Crunchbase data.
De Grouchy attributes several reasons for InfoGrid’s success. First, note that a growing number of regulations – like London’s ban on home and office rents below certain energy thresholds – are forcing companies to consider investing in a monitoring platform. Second, Infogrid argues that it differs from other IoT-based building management systems in that it provides more context, particularly occupancy and air quality data.
“There’s a big shift happening in real estate as people reduce their footprint and are forced to take sustainability seriously,” De Grouchy said. “Both are a tailwind for Infogrid as companies seeking less, but green, real estate flock to green and technology-enabled buildings. Infogrid helps our customers deliver exactly that, improving their rental yields and property values.”
When asked about the size of InfoGrid’s client base, de Grouchy wouldn’t provide a figure, except to say that the startup’s services are “some of the largest commercial real estate services companies in the world.” It also doesn’t give a ballpark about revenue, and — worryingly — doesn’t promise to increase InfoGrid’s 250-person head count this year.
But he has repeatedly assured TechCrunch that the business is healthy.
“The epidemic was a powerful tailwind. At the time, there was more interest in remote monitoring, and it led to many of the macro-environmental, social and governance and real estate consolidation trends,” added de Grouchy. “It’s a venn diagram between point solutions like energy or air quality, legacy building management system players, software-only dashboards that scrape data from existing networks, or in-house solutions. None of these offer everything that InfoGrid does, so only in small sub-areas.” They are competitors, and often competitors are potential partners, because we are selling a total solution together.