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BrainBox AI Raises $20M, Acquires Energy Management System Integrator for Smart Buildings

May 19, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

BrainBox AI, which develops technology to make buildings smarter, greener and more energy efficient, has raised $20 million and acquired a multi-site retail (MSR) energy management system integrator.

BrainBox AI, founded in 2017, is based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The company, led by CEO Sam Ramadori (pictured, top of page) had 156 employees listed on LinkedIn as of May 19, 2023. The firm develops autonomous building technology to improve the performance of HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems.

BrainBox AI's Technology Explained, Smart Building Market Forecasts

BrainBox AI's software enables a reduction in total energy costs of up to 25% in less than three months, with low to no CAPEX (capital expenditures) needed from property owners, the company asserts.

BrainBox AI works with technology partners and systems integrators to support customers in such sectors as hotels, commercial retail, grocery stores, airports and more. For example,  Will Solutions and BrainBox AI are partnering in Quebec and Ontario, Canada to promote artificial intelligence (AI) for HVAC systems across sustainable communities.

Demand for such solutions appears steady to strong, depending on which market forecast you potentially believe. For instance:

  • The global building automation and control system market will reach $168.8 billion by 2031, up from $87.3 billion in 2022, Transparency Market Research forecast. That's a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.9%, the firm said.
  • Spending on building management systems is expected to reach $19.25 billion in 2023, up from $6.65 billion in 2016. That's a 16.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during the forecast period, according to MarketsAndMarkets

The U.S. government also is assisting the market. For instance, the federal government plans to spend $250 million to help federal agencies implement net-zero building projects.

BrainBox AI: Smart Building Investors, M&A Move

Mike Mustapha, president, smart buildings division,
ABB Electrification

Key BrainBox AI investors include the Government of Quebec and ABB, a technology company focused on electrification and automation. That ABB relationship now includes an M&A component.

Indeed, BrainBox AI has acquired ABB’s multi-site retail (MSR) energy management system integrator business -- which currently supports 12,000 retail locations. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

In a prepared statement about the latest funding and ABB relationship, BrainBox AI CEO Sam Ramadori said: “We are grateful for this significant investment from the Québec Government and ABB. Having their support propels our mission to provide commercial real estate owners and retailers around the globe with a scalable and impactful decarbonization tool. As buildings account for over 38% of GHG emissions globally, there is no way around the necessity of making buildings significantly more efficient. The convergence of investments from both the public and private sectors clearly shows that the work we are doing is resonating across the board, which we view as very positive as this challenge will require collective involvement to make a meaningful impact given its sheer scale and difficulty.”

Pierre Fitzgibbon, ministry of economy, innovation & energy, Montreal Region

Added Pierre Fitzgibbon, the minister of economy, innovation and energy for the Montréal Region: “The technology that BrainBox AI has developed will revolutionize energy consumption in commercial buildings. The adoption by Québec businesses of energy innovations such as the one that Brainbox AI is proposing is indispensable if we are to successfully decarbonize Québec and ensure more efficient use of our resources.”

Concluded Mike Mustapha, president of the smart buildings division at ABB Electrification: “By transferring the MSR business to BrainBox AI, customers can leverage artificial intelligence to achieve better energy efficiency and decarbonization. This fully aligns with our mission to pursue building decarbonization jointly with our strategic partners.”

Green Buildings: Sustainability Partnerships to Note

Meanwhile, dozens -- perhaps hundreds -- of technology businesses are striving to transform how buildings consume and manage energy. Example developments so far in 2023 include:

Among the 2023 milestones to note so far:

  • Microsoft's Climate Innovation Fund invested in BlocPower, which develops a SaaS analytics software platform for the greening of America's buildings, and the decarbonization of low income communities.
  • CarbonCents Inc., a Clemson University sustainability startup, received approval from the SC Launch Inc. board for a $250,000 convertible note.
  • Power management company Eaton and IES are partnering to assist customers with sustainable building strategies.
  • Delta demonstrated an ecosystem of IoT-based Smart Green Solutions capable of “enhancing energy conservation, productivity, security and indoor air quality (IAQ) in buildings and cities,” the company said. The platform can transform HVAC, LED lighting and other building platforms into intelligent, eco-friendly and human-centric infrastructure, Delta asserted.
  • Schneider Electric increasingly promotes such software platforms EcoStruxure Building Operation, EcoStruxure Connected Room Solutions, and EcoStruxure Power Monitoring Expert to “help simplify and speed-up access to data that is essential to manage energy use, help reduce carbon emissions, and enhance building value.
  • Siemens Smart Infrastructure in March 2023 launched Connect Box, an “IoT solution designed to manage small to medium-sized buildings.

Related: See all of our Smart Buildings news, analysis and research here.

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