Antwerp-based Hysopt closed on a €5.3 million round yesterday, driving the take-up of its heating, ventilation and air conditioning digital twin software, now scaling up toward international revenue.
The funding round involving Junction Growth Investors, Rise Proptech Fund, Qbic and SPDG is also earmarked for resourcing new industry partnerships, with allies including Swedish power producer Vattenfall and municipal utility services operator Veolia.
HVACs help to control discomfort and health issues caused by heat waves or cold snaps. They're coming under increased scrutiny in many businesses, due to their colossal energy footprint, at a time of soaring energy prices.
In commercial properties, some estimates suggest roughly 40% of energy use stems from HVACs.
With both global climate heating and energy inflation now at the forefront of policy agendas, there's a huge opportunity for software startups. Even in the coming downturn, capital can be expected to continue to flow toward HVAC software providers, whose AI predictions, temperature sensors and other smart tech help businesses keep down costs.
Roel Vandenbulcke, founder and CEO and Hysopt, remembers customers were far less concerned about energy costs and carbon emissions five years ago, but things have changed rapidly.
Vandenbulcke said: "Many companies and building owners have now adopted a different mindset due to the explosive rise in energy prices and Green Deal legislation that requires owners to make buildings more sustainable.
"Our software addresses both these aspects as well as the increasing digitisation of architecture, engineering and construction. Because of current energy prices, modifications proposed by our software often take less than a year to pay off.”
Hysopt is a pretty mature business having started out in 2013, when it was spun off from University of Antwerp's IP.
With its digital twins feature, Hysopt claims to have embedded a mathematical model of "all applicable laws of physics" providing fully-fledged diagrams which map out all of the building's HVAC energy flows, and which can be adjusted using various parameters.
The use of digital twins can help Hysopt's customers predict how changes in HVAC operation modes will affect things, through sensitivity analysis, or check the initial installation concept for potential flaws or missing parts before the system even gets running.
The mathematical algorithms are calculated to simulate entire building HVAC environments, putting out forecasts for energy costs, CO2 and even whether people will feel comfortable given ambient heat and body heating from fellow office workers, or people in venues.
Junction Growth Investors, SPDG and Rise Proptech put up €4.5 million for the seed round, which follows an internal funding for Hysopt back in 2020. Their contributions were supplemented by existing Hysopt shareholders, including the Belgian cross-university VC fund Qbic.
With the new funding, Hysopt aims to double its R&D team next year and will also make recruits in new markets, starting with Germany. Presently, the business operates in the Netherlands, Luxembourg and UK, as well as in Belgium. By the end of 2023, Hysopt expects to have 60 employees.