PassiveLogic secures £12.29m in Series A funding

By Scott Birch
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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