Oct 15, 2020

PassiveLogic secures £12.29m in Series A funding

Scott Birch
4 min
Tech firm to launch first fully autonomous building controls platform
Tech firm to launch first fully autonomous building controls platform...

PassiveLogic, the company behind the first fully autonomous building controls platform, has received £12.29 million in funding and leading the Series A round are venture capital funds Keyframe Capital and Addition.

Physical infrastructure innovation is one of the core segments that Keyframe invests in, while Addition invests in early and growth stage companies around the world. Other investors include RET Ventures, A/O Proptech, and NREP – representing the commercial real estate industries in the US and Europe.

Following the Series A raise, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded the company with a £844,888 contract to define an industry Digital Twin technology standard for next generation automation systems. Additional backing for the standard comes from Belimo, the Swiss HVAC component manufacturer.

Founded in 2016 by Troy Harvey and Jeremy Fillingim to bring autonomous controls advancements from self-driven vehicles to the larger buildings market, PassiveLogic aims to democratise the technology so that users can design their own custom autonomous systems, without needing an engineering team.

PassiveLogic's autonomous building systems can be installed in new buildings or retrofitted in one-tenth the time of conventional HVAC controls and can reduce energy consumption by 30 percent, which is significant considering buildings use 40 percent of energy and 70 percent of the electricity produced.

The platform enables autonomous systems technology for any building, architecture, or controlled system, without data science expertise or AI training time. Prior to its market launch, autonomous systems have largely required full-scale engineering teams, years of training, and might have been limited to a single use-case.

The company's Autonomy Studio software empowers users without programming expertise to graphically define their own system using the company's Digital Twin technology. These Digital Twins provide virtual analogues to real-world objects, powered by the company's 'deep physics' AI IP. 

This technique enables real-world objects to understand their own behaviour and interactions and learn in place while they operate. Since there is no programming code required, automation projects can be done in one day or less, rather than weeks, the company explains.

"PassiveLogic addresses a critical and large market need that has been consistently underserved by existing building automation companies. Without open, flexible controls systems as the backbone for building systems, the promise of a highly efficient or "smart" building is simply out of reach. Many buildings have been surviving with insufficient automation solutions for years – creating added costs, energy waste, and underwhelming tenant experiences," says John Rapaport of Keyframe Capital. 

"The platform has the controls architecture, unique autonomous building technology, and ease of configurability to give building operators the controls they have been promised for years to close those efficiency gaps, at a cost that will work for all building sizes. We're really excited about what this can mean for building operators, tenants, and regulators at this tipping point of the digitalisation of buildings, and to play some small role in helping PassiveLogic follow that vision,” he adds.

The autonomous platform is also built into PasiveLogic’s Hive edge controller, which enables connectivity to building systems, the statement explains. Within a building, Hive controllers work together to provide an edge platform for sensors, equipment, and IoT – allowing whole-building resilient control without requiring cloud connectivity. 

The Hive Digital Twin engine understands how a building's equipment and systems interact, allowing local in-building AI to make the real-time control and management decisions that co-optimize comfort, maintenance, efficiency, and operational costs. In pilot projects, PassiveLogic's approach demonstrated 30% energy savings, as well as 90 percent labour savings in programming installation, and commissioning compared to conventional solutions.

"There has been a lot of talk about smart buildings in recent years, but when people say 'smart' they really just mean connected," says Harvey. "Our Digital Twin technology makes buildings truly intelligent and self-managing, taking them beyond conventional controls or other AI cloud add-ons in the marketplace."

The platform scales to any building or campus, both in new construction and retrofit applications. The company says that there is a large, worldwide market that will benefit from autonomous building technology, including specialised applications in factories, hospitals, and data centres. The company has a growing roster of partnerships with many industry stakeholders, including building owners, operators, architects, engineers, contractors, and utility partners. 

‘Beyond autonomous operation and management, PassiveLogic's platform paves the way for human-centric architecture, interactive energy networks, utility demand-response, and the future of smart cities,’ the statement concludes.

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Jun 14, 2021

XYZ Reality receives £20m to develop Assisted Reality

Dominic Ellis
3 min
XYZ Reality to use funding led by Octopus Ventures to springboard into USA and automatically report issues through Assisted Reality

XYZ Reality has announced a £20m investment round led by Octopus Ventures.

Founded in 2017, XYZ Reality aims to "revolutionise" the construction sector with its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality (AR) solution, Holosite.

Designed to enable an on time and on budget delivery of construction projects, by eliminating building errors, HoloSite has been available to select customers through an early access programme and has already been used on projects totalling a value of over £1.5bn in the last year. 

With approximately 98% of construction megaprojects facing cost overruns or delays and 7-11% of project costs being spent on correcting errors, XYZ Reality’s purpose-built integrated AR solution directly addresses these issues.

With its safety certified AR hardhat, cloud platform and in-built proprietary software, Holosite accurately positions high fidelity 3D design models on construction sites, enabling teams to build it right, first time. The technology system has been used on complex construction projects including data centres, pharmaceutical facilities and airports.     

This funding will be used to accelerate the company’s ambition of transforming projects by preparing for HoloSite’s commercial launch in the USA and continuing investment in strengthening research and development. The company is also growing its London team to include key hires across technology, manufacturing, sales and marketing.

David Mitchell, Founder and CEO of XYZ Reality, said developing its engineering-Grade AR solution helping construction teams identify errors in real-time is just the start.

"The next phase is Assisted Reality, where our spatial computing technology will have the intelligence to automatically detect and report issues in the field. And ultimately, the goal is builders building from holograms. Our vision of developing world changing products aligns with Octopus Ventures’ mission of investing in companies that are powering the next industrial revolution. We look forward to building history.”

The latest round of funding is led by Octopus Ventures, one of the largest and most active venture investors in Europe, known for its commitment of investing in companies and founders that are changing the world. Octopus Ventures has a strong track record, spanning investment in health, fintech, consumer, B2B software, and deep tech. This includes WaveOptics, one of Octopus Ventures’ early investments in Augmented Reality, which was recently acquired by Snap Inc. 

Rebecca Hunt, early-stage investor at Octopus Ventures, said: "We’ve always invested in entrepreneurs leading industry change and XYZ is doing just that. It's solving a massive problem that costs the construction industry billions every year, using its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality solution to spearhead a shift in the sector’s approach. The founding team of David, Umar and Murray have deep domain and technical expertise, which we believe makes XYZ uniquely placed to drive this transformation.”

XYZ Reality also announces a new partnership with Mace, for the construction of a hyper-scale data centre in Europe. With speed to market being particularly essential for mission critical builds, HoloSite’s AR technology will have a significant role in supporting an accurate and time effective build for Mace, which last week appointed Jon McElroy its new Managing Director for International Technology.  

Mace Technical Director, Stephen Henley, said: “Mace has built a reputation of redefining the boundaries of ambition, always bringing efficiency, innovation and responsibility to our projects. With the implementation of XYZ’s groundbreaking AR system, we continue to be committed to delivering projects faster, safer and better than ever before.” 

Five years ago, Heather Bellini of Goldman Sachs Research expected virtual and augmented reality to become an $80 billion market by 2025.

But according to new research by global tech market advisory firm ABI Research, nearly 28 million augmented and mixed reality smart glasses will ship in 2026, while the total global AR/MR market will surpass $175 billion in the same year.

"Major tech players across hardware, software, and services look familiar in the consumer space, contributing to strong and consistent overall growth," says Eric Abbruzzese, Research Director for ABI Research. "Those big tech names, with active investment and product ranging from already available, to announced, to all-but-announced, are creating a consumer AR market that will be dynamic and welcoming rather than struggling and immature."

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