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Home Top Innovative Companies to Watch 2023 beez-fm: Revolutionizing Energy Management and Sustainability – An Interview with Biz Tech Outlook

beez-fm: Revolutionizing Energy Management and Sustainability – An Interview with Biz Tech Outlook

by Biztechoutlook

beez-fm: Revolutionizing Energy Management and Sustainability - An Interview with Biz Tech Outlook

What is beez, and what services does your company provide?

beez-fm is a pioneering Singaporean green tech startup that is revolutionizing the Building Management System (BMS) market with our groundbreaking solution, BaaS (BMS as a Service). Traditionally, building management presented a dilemma: decision-makers had to choose between a low initial capital expenditure (CAPEX) solution that was often energy-inefficient or an operationally efficient solution that required significant upfront investment. beez-fm resolves this conundrum by breaking free from this outdated paradigm. We no longer sell products; instead, we provide precisely what the customer needs – superior comfort within their building, delivered as a service, with the lowest energy consumption. Our compensation is tied to results, with a share of the energy savings realized over a 5-year contract. Our ability to offer this service is powered by our Cloud platform, smart IoT devices, and Artificial Intelligence.

Can you share some of your achievements and the biggest challenges or obstacles you’ve faced on your journey to becoming a business leader?

Our most significant achievement has been securing contracts with major companies such as Hyatt, the Megaworld Group as well as a major F&B in the Philippines, one of the biggest hotel chains across Southeast Asia and now we just started working for one of the biggest banks in Singapore. Additionally, we take pride in the substantial energy savings we’ve achieved within just a few months for our projects – consistently around 30% of total building consumption. Other notable achievements include being recognized as one of the top startups by Engie and receiving the opportunity to pitch our solution to all their leaders. We’ve also received recognition from APAC Insider, winning the award for the most visionary Facility Management company in 2023. Furthermore, we’ve pioneered a new umbrella contract, allowing us to sign a building owner just once and gain access to all their buildings. Lastly, we’ve developed a unique building predictive baseline based on energy budgets, adapting to the inconsistency in building usage caused by factors like COVID-19 and remote work.

In terms of challenges, we can categorize them into three areas:

Sales:

Our primary sales challenge is shifting the market’s mindset. We’re transforming the industry, and this often meets resistance from those accustomed to traditional approaches. Customers frequently inquire about the specific products we’ll install, even though we emphasize that our approach is customized to each building. We explain that we are not selling products but rather focusing on delivering the best comfort in their buildings while achieving substantial energy savings. Since our contracts span five years, we can’t provide a product list upfront. Our challenge is to assure customers that they need not worry about the specifics of the products we use.

Financially:

Our business model is highly profitable in the long run, but it requires substantial initial investment since we cover the entire cost for our customers. This can be particularly challenging when signing large building owners like big chain and franchised companies.

Operationally:

Operating in Southeast Asia presents operational challenges due to varying understandings of work processes in different countries. Fortunately, our dedicated teams are committed to delivering the highest quality service.

Have you achieved all that you desired? Can you share the moment when you realized that your hard work had paid off, and what mantra keeps you driven and determined?

We have achieved a great deal of what we set out to accomplish, there’s so much more we aspire to achieve in the future. However, operating with a cash flow-intensive business model has made this journey quite challenging. There were several moments when I thought we might have to close the company, but every time, hard work and dedication prevailed. Some friends witnessed the customers we were signing and the unwavering commitment we were putting into the company, and they decided to become our investors. We successfully secured one round of fundraising and one SAFE raise, with plans for another fundraising round next year to fuel our further development.

To illustrate how hard work pays off, consider our project with the Hyatt, which was our first venture of this scale, previous ones being considerably smaller. Upon completing this project, we had to completely reprogram how they managed their chiller plant. Many products were malfunctioning or lacked proper command capabilities. Some sensors were providing inaccurate data, adding complexity to our engineering tasks. Furthermore, the local team was accustomed to manual control of everything. I personally handled the entire engineering of the chiller plant in between investor calls, sales meetings, and proposal preparations. It was an intense period, as the hotel operated 24/7, necessitating updates to the chiller plant during the night. I was remotely working on this task every night from 1 am to 4 am, with only about two hours of sleep per night. This was crucial because I had to ensure that the chillers were functioning correctly when the kitchen started its operations at 6 am. I made myself available for any customer inquiries at any hour of the day or night.

Ultimately, we managed to successfully implement the system, and the customer observed significant energy savings. However, at the time of signing the contract, we didn’t have our predictive model for the baseline, and the baseline we used, based on the COVID-19 period, didn’t show any savings per our contract terms. However, the customer was witnessing savings based on their 2019 consumption. Even though the customer wasn’t obliged to pay us according to the contract, I met with them and proposed establishing a new predictive baseline for the contract and adjusting it so that we could receive fair compensation for our services. The customer expressed satisfaction with our services, our unwavering availability, and the realized savings. They agreed to revise the baseline to reflect our contributions and compensate us accordingly.

What made you realize the entrepreneur in you, and how does your previous work experience help you in growing the organization?

I was driven to become an entrepreneur by a desire to make a significant impact, to challenge the status quo in the market, and to address frustrating issues I had encountered throughout my career. One of the most frustrating aspects was witnessing customers request products they neither understood nor needed. When I would suggest more efficient and cost-effective solutions based on newer technology, they would often decline because the project specifications demanded a different product.

My disillusionment with the Building Management System (BMS) market was another motivator. It was disheartening to witness companies and countries championing net-zero carbon emissions and energy resilience, only to see decision-makers prioritize the cheapest, least efficient solutions when presented with more sustainable alternatives.

Throughout my career as an employee in this industry, I observed several alarming practices. For instance, in a building constructed by the same company that would later occupy it, the project team opted for the cheapest, highly inefficient valves available to stay within budget. Yet, as soon as the operations team assumed control of the building, they promptly replaced these valves with more efficient models, earning praise for their energy-saving efforts. This scenario highlights the unnecessary overproduction and waste generated when companies prioritize cost over efficiency.

Around 2012, I took inspiration from Xerox’s shift away from selling expensive printer to offering printer services for a monthly fee. Xerox focused on providing customers with what they truly wanted: the ability to print. They supplied the printer, ink, and paper as part of the service. This approach resonated with me, and I believed that BMS could be similarly revolutionized. However, the necessary technology wasn’t available at the time.

My journey into entrepreneurship began when I was invited to audit Terminal 3 of NAIA Airport, which incurred approximately $1 million in monthly electricity costs in 2019, with a significant portion dedicated to cooling. To my surprise, the building lacked basic temperature sensors, resulting in excessive cooling to maintain a consistent low temperature. When I proposed a standard solution, the head of the airport’s FM team acknowledged my expertise but explained that due to government regulations, they had to conduct an open tender for such a substantial project. In the Philippines, this often led to unrealistic low bids that never delivered. As a government entity, they were compelled to accept the lowest offer. It was on that day that I proposed an OPEX-based solution, and a few months later, I founded my own company. To offer such a solution, I recognized the need to develop my own cloud platform capable of remotely managing buildings regardless of the installed systems. I embarked on building this platform using a combination of existing products, transforming them into a cloud-based solution. This initial “bricolage” resulted in a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that proved successful.

My prior experience has been invaluable in my entrepreneurial journey. My role as the former product manager of the first BMS of Generation 4.0 at SAUTER, combined with my expertise on hundreds of global projects, has equipped me with the ability to integrate any system into a BMS. Additionally, my extensive knowledge of diverse markets and cultures acquired during my tenure as a manager for Europe and later as a market manager, business developer, and head of the APAC competence center has been instrumental in our organization’s growth.

What does the future hold for beez?

beez-fm is going to develop a new major software that we call RizaOne. Riza means root in Greek. Our software will be one single root for 3 types of application:

  • BMS
  • Air Quality
  • Farming solution

beez-fm is going to develop its sales in BaaS but as well will provide SaaS services for the above listed type of projects. Our software will allow thanks to our new AI under development to make it easy for customers to reach a 0 carbon footprint for farming and to help buildings to reduce their energy consumption and comfort. I cannot give too many details about our current development, but it will be epic.

Please tell us how beez addresses global warming through its BMS in nature cooling concept.

The issue of global warming is undeniably connected to the construction and operation of buildings, contributing to a significant share of CO2 emissions. This contribution stems from two primary sources: the embodied carbon emissions generated during the construction of buildings and the energy consumed by these structures during their operational phase. It’s important to recognize that every form of energy production, including renewable sources like wind and solar, carries its own set of CO2 emissions, from the manufacturing of the equipment to eventual recycling.

In essence, the cleanest form of energy is the one we never have to produce because we don’t need it. To combat global warming, reducing the energy consumption of buildings is paramount. This reduction can be achieved through three key approaches:

1) Forced Reduction: This involves reducing energy usage due to factors such as soaring energy costs or limited availability, making energy-intensive practices unsustainable.

2) Resilience: Here, individuals or organizations consciously choose to limit their energy usage by voluntarily adjusting their comfort levels. For example, opting to use a bike for commuting instead of a car or accepting slightly higher indoor temperatures during hot weather to conserve energy.

3) Efficiency: The focus of beez-fm, efficiency entails maintaining or even improving the comfort within a building while significantly reducing energy waste. This approach involves identifying and eliminating unnecessary energy consumption. For instance, why maintain an uncomfortably cold temperature of 15°C in a Singaporean cinema when it’s 30°C outside, causing moviegoers to bring jackets? Why keep the air conditioning running in an empty office during lunchtime? Why maintain the same cooling level during a rainy day as on a scorching hot day?

Our specialization lies in making buildings more efficient, ensuring optimal comfort while cutting down on unnecessary energy use. We don’t stop at reactive measures; we also proactively predict and optimize building conditions. For example, if we know it’s going to rain within the next hour, we can preemptively reduce cooling as we understand the time it takes for a room to warm up with occupants inside.

Moreover, we’re actively engaged in addressing the human and social aspects of building operations. The best technology in the world won’t be effective if, for instance, a security guard stationed near frequently open entrance doors allows conditioned air to escape continually.

In essence, beez-fm’s nature cooling concept focuses on intelligent, efficient, and predictive building management that reduces energy consumption while enhancing occupant comfort – a critical step in combating global warming.

We would like to showcase the leaders and pillars of your company in this issue to our readers.

In the bustling world of business, the heart of any company lies in the individuals who drive its vision and mission forward.

beez-fm is composed of 11 employees just now. I founded the company myself in December 2019, the 24th to be exact. However, I have given shares and the co-founder status to 3 key people, without whom beez-fm wouldn’t be where it is now and for sure could not go where we want it to be.

Our COO: Martial the builder

At the core of beez-fm’s success is the dynamic leadership of Martial Wilbert, now serving as the company’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). A trusted friend from my time at SAUTER, Martial’s journey from friendship to co-founder status is a testament to his exceptional skills and unwavering dedication.

Martial Wilbert stands out as one of the brightest minds in energy management. His approach, marked by a unique blend of technical expertise, a social conscience, and a pragmatic vision, positions him as the ideal overseer of beez-fm’s operations. What sets him apart is his clear motivation: to create a legacy that not only benefits the present but also paves the way for a better future, especially for his children.

Our CTO: Didier the insightful

Didier Pedreno was the head of the development when I used to be the product manager for our latest BMS development at SAUTER. His visionary approach to development, characterized by an innate ability to anticipate the impacts of any function, has made him the perfect candidate for the role of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at beez-fm. Yet, it’s not just his technical prowess that distinguishes Didier. His unwavering commitment to leaving a positive mark on our planet through his work is a driving force that aligns seamlessly with beez-fm’s mission.

Our CFO: Paulo the enabler

In the realm of complex financial solutions, beez-fm required a talented Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who could navigate the intricacies of its operations. Enter Paulo Iasbech, whose journey with beez-fm commenced 18 months ago.

Paulo’s credentials are impressive, boasting a Ph.D. and a wealth of experience in startups. However, what truly sets him apart is his unbridled passion for transforming beez-fm into a 100-million SGD powerhouse. His financial acumen, combined with his commitment to the company’s growth, makes him an indispensable asset to beez-fm’s leadership team.

“Innovation is the bridge between imagination and impact. beez-fm’s revolutionary approach to building management is not just about comfort and efficiency; it’s about shaping a sustainable future, one building at a time.”

 Company Name : beez-fm Pte.Ltd

 Website :  www.beez-fm.com

 Management Team

 Nicolas Sautter – Chief Executive Officer 

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