InfoGrid, a startup that uses AI to collect and analyze data on things like air quality, occupancy and energy consumption, today announced it raised $90 million in a Series B round led by Northzone and AO PropTech . InfoGrid CEO William Cowell de Gruchy says the cash will be channeled into product development, strategic recruiting and customer acquisition efforts.
De Gruchy said, “Now was the time to raise capital and use it to drive our expansion.” “We are coming off a 5X growth last year and there is strong market demand for our solutions… We opted for equity because along with capital, we wanted strategic partners to help us scale to the next level And we have both VCs and customers and investment partners. It brings more value than cash.
De Gruchi — who has a fascinating history having studied cage fighting and served as an army officer before moving on to a quiet, white-collar career in due diligence analysis — founded Infogrid in 2018. Working for the strategic advisory firm Drystone Strategy, De Gruchi regularly visited companies that were “due diligence” for private equity deals, including dairies, roofing companies and distribution warehouses.
On these “diligence” visits, De Gruchy noted a lack of real-time digital data and visibility into “operational inefficiencies” as well as health risks and environmental concerns surrounding buildings and facilities.
“When I asked why people weren’t using present-day technologies – such as cloud computing, cellular connectivity and sensors – to solve the issue, they answered the same way over and over again; It was too complicated and too expensive,” de Grucchi told TechCrunch in an email interview. “I set out to answer that problem and defeat the incumbent solution — the clipboard — and that was the seed that became InfoGrid today.”
InfoGrid’s platform, powered by AI, gathers and analyzes data from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to help property managers and owners optimize the performance of their various buildings – at least in theory. Through IoT sensors built by an ecosystem of hardware partners, Infogrid can measure domains such as the number of people, air quality and cleaning needs throughout a building, as well as measure energy use and CO2 levels in relation to the number of people can track. in a building, so that customers can make adjustments that affect sustainability scores and operating costs.
As De Gruchi explains, customers adopting InfoGrid are typically looking to solve facilities management issues such as avoiding unnecessary cleaning, preventing wasteful faucet flushing for 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 growing rapidly,” De Gruchy said. “This trains our AI, which is then refined with user feedback, making it better.”
Infogrid competes with several companies in the building management space, including Brainbox, Aquicore, and Sidewalklabs’ Mesa, whose algorithms make fine-adjustments for climate control and monitoring systems on the fly. Meanwhile, Facilio and Building IoT, two other rivals, install and configure building control systems and bring together data from those systems within a unified management interface.
The growing number of competitors has coincided with an increase in VC investment in IoT companies. Crunchbase data shows that IoT companies will raise an average of $15.9 million in 2022, up 30% from last year.
De Gruchy credits several factors for InfoGrid’s success. Firstly, he notes that a growing number of regulations – such as London banning home and office rentals below a certain energy limit – are forcing companies to consider investing in a monitoring platform. Second, they argue that Infogrid is differentiated from other IoT-based building management systems in that it provides more context, particularly occupancy and air quality data.
“A big change is underway in real estate as people are reducing their footprint and are forced to take sustainability seriously,” said De Gruchi. “Both are tailwinds for InfoGrid, as companies look for greener, more tech-enabled buildings for less, but greener, real estate. InfoGrid helps provide exactly this to our customers, thereby improving their rental yield and asset value.”
Asked about the size of Infogrid’s client base, De Gruchy didn’t provide any figures, only claiming that the startup services “some of the largest commercial real estate services companies in the world.” He also won’t give a ballpark regarding revenue, and — in a possible cause for concern — won’t commit to increasing InfoGrid’s 250-person headcount this year.
But he repeatedly assured TechCrunch that the business is healthy.
“The pestilence was a strong wind; This sparked a lot of interest in remote monitoring at the time, and has driven many macro environmental, social and governance and real estate consolidation trends,” said De Gruchi. “Be it energy or air quality, older building management system players, software- There is only a Venn diagram of in between point solutions for things like dashboards that scrape data from existing networks or in-house solutions. None of these provide everything that Infogrid does, so they are only competitors in small sub areas, and at times are competitive partners because together we are selling a holistic solution.