Commercialisation Australia awards $1.2m to energy efficiency start-up


BuildingIQ, an Australian energy efficiency start-up that is looking to make a big impact in the US, has been handed $1.2 million in the latest Commercialisation Australia awards, with a total of $5 million granted to 13 promising new ventures.


The business, which was launched in 2009, will use the early stage commercialisation grant to crack international markets, building upon its existing presence in Australia and the US.


BuildingIQ operates a network that optimises heating and cooling systems in buildings. The technology readjusts every five minutes to alter the amount of energy used depending on factors such as the weather.


The system is already in place in 15 buildings in Australia and four in the US, with BuildingIQ set to add 10 people to its 20-strong team as it ramps up its operations in the lucrative US market, and beyond.


Under the early stage commercialisation grant, BuildingIQ has to match the $1.2 million with the same amount from private sources. It has already done this with a “small number” of investors, including Exto Partners.


BuildingIQ uses technology licensed at the research stage from CSIRO. The company’s CEO is Mike Zimmerman, a former partner at Technology Venture Partners.


Peter Hammond, BuildingIQ’s CFO, tells StartupSmart that the company was working on its application for Commercialisation Australia funds for the past six months.


“This kind of funding helps raise extra funds because it gives you credibility and a way to leverage private money,” he says.


“Australia is one of the best countries in the world for energy efficiency, but we are not as good at demand response and managing energy use. It’s big in the US but coming in slowly in Australia.”


“At the moment the technology is on site, but we will be moving it all into the cloud. Once we do that, our distribution partners will be able to configure and monitor performance anywhere they are in the world.


“That will give us the platform to roll it out on a large scale. It’s an exciting time. We’re already one of the top businesses in the space, recognised in Australia and the US.”


The award was the largest of Commercialisation Australia’s latest grants, with a total of 13 companies sharing $5 million.


The recipients include software firm V2i, which got $858,000, B-Pods, which got a $236,000 proof of concept grant for its inter-locking roofing system, and Global Kinetics Corporation, which received $439,000 for a Parkinson’s disease management solution.


Senator Kim Carr, the innovation minister, says: “The Government understands that the commercialisation process can be difficult and our talented researchers, inventors and entrepreneurs can lack the skills and networks needed to navigate through it.


“This investment aims to help our inventors get their products into the Australian and global marketplace.”