75F embodies its name from the United Nations campaign to raise temperatures in buildings to 75 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce carbon emissions. 75F was founded in the US in 2012. The company launched its business operations in India in August 2012 and has been growing steadily ever since. They are committed to saving energy and reducing carbon emissions. The team at 75F, create smart solutions that harness the power of Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud Computing to predict, monitor and manage the needs of a building. Mr. Gaurav Burman is the VP & APAC President of 75F. His previous position was with Schneider Electric, as their Director – Marketing where he was also a part of the Management Team of Schneider Electric, South Asia. Gaurav has handled diverse portfolios in his career including product management, alliances, channel sales, and enterprise sales.
Prior to Marketing, Gaurav spent 20 years of his life in Sales and worked with companies like PCL, IBM, L&T, APC, and Schneider Electric. He was recently recognized as one of the 50 Most Talented CMOs in India in 2013, and one of the 100 Most Talented CMOs in the World by the US-based CMO Council. Gaurav obtained his Civil Engineering Degree from The Thapar Institute, Patiala. He pursued his MBA in Marketing from XLRI, Jamshedpur. We are publishing an interview with Mr. Gaurav:
Q.: Please tell us about the founders
Ans: Deepinder Singh founded 75F in 2012 after he designed some of the world’s fastest core networks for Tier 1 service providers like AT&T, NTT and Verizon. Armed with over 25 years of experience in electronics and computing, he has introduced a range of embedded products in the market. His key goal in every endeavour was to simplify operational complexity and to make products intuitive.
But the genesis of the company was inspired by a personal experience. After Deepinder’s one-year old daughter was moved to her own room in their house in Minnesota, US, she started facing thermal discomfort because her room temperature was more than 100F cooler than the other rooms. In Minnesota where the outside temperature would be -300 Celsius the discomfort was quite prominent, and she would wake up in the middle of the night crying. He realised then that the thermostat which was in the master bedroom didn’t take into account the temperature differences in different parts of the house. In his quest to fix this problem, Deepinder built the algorithms that consider temperature variances and thermal loads in different parts of the buildings. Thus, was born 75F, as Deepinder realised that the problem applies to many other buildings and wanted to make sure that everyone has access to equitable, comfortable temperatures.
Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve?
Ans: 75F offers a Smart Building solution that harnesses the power of IoT coupled with edge computing and cloud computing that delivers energy savings, comfort, remote visibility and manageability & automation. Commercial buildings, globally, typically face the following challenges which 75F aims to address:
- 70% of energy consumed in a commercial building is for HVAC and Lighting of which 50% is wasted due to inefficient use
- Thermal, lighting and air quality discomfort leads to employee dissatisfaction and loss of productivity by 15-20%
- Excessive dependence on manual control for building O&M leads to errors, inefficient operations and is labor intensive.
- With existing solutions, inability to quickly and economically retrofit the latest technologies in older buildings
- Lack of actionable trends and insights on key building parameters accessible in real-time, on smart phones/ tablets or laptops from anywhere in the world.
- Individual occupant’s preferences and feedback not being considered.
Equipped with IoT, edge computing and cloud computing, 75F’s system is much more efficient than the standard building controls systems. We help commercial buildings save up to 50% on their HVAC and Lighting Energy bills! Due to the energy savings, utility rebates and ease of installation, the payback is typically less than 3 years. Simple, wireless installation can be done with little disruption. Cutting edge technology optimizes the operational efficiency of the building making it truly smart and automated.
Q.: Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
Ans: At 75F, we believe that innovation is what sets us apart. We come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but we all have one thing in common: forward-thinking. We believe there’s always a better way to do something – we are challenging industry norms and breaking new ground with our technology.
Which is why we took the challenge head on to disrupt an industry that is traditionally slow to innovate. 75F is the only brand today, that can effectively address the energy, air quality and comfort issues of more 99,000 commercial buildings in India and 15,000,000 worldwide.
Buildings in India are responsible for a third of India’s total energy consumption but unfortunately nearly 50% of it is wasted due to inefficient use. At 75F we are committed to making these buildings use their energy more efficiently. We strive to deliver a balanced workspace, better air quality and energy management that can work together to contribute to improved employee healthy & productivity (social), reduced energy usage (environment) and lead to increased profits (economic).
We help commercial buildings save up to 50% on their HVAC and Lighting Energy bills! Due to the energy savings, utility rebates and ease of installation, the payback is typically less than 3 years. Simple, wireless installation can be done with little disruption. Cutting edge technology optimizes the operational efficiency of the building making it truly smart and automated. 75F’s Building Intelligence System uses IoT and smart algorithms in the cloud to not only optimize energy efficiency but also uses the input from these sensors to proactively adjust HVAC, Indoor Air Quality and lighting settings to optimize occupant comfort and overall occupant experience. Studies show that each of these aspects significantly impacts occupant health, cognitive abilities, problem-solving capabilities, concentration, and ability to innovate. For e.g. as US Green Building Council points out small changes such as improved ventilation will boost the productivity of workers by 11% while better lighting will spark a whopping 23% jump in efficiency. Another recent study states that overcooled offices negatively impact employee output by nearly 50% and extremely warm offices lead to a 18% drop in attendance and an increase in project turnaround times by 13%.
We believe in the potential of IoT (Internet of Things) to improve our lives and to deliver energy savings without compromising on comfort. Our focus is on HVAC and Lighting, because it represents 70% of the energy consumed in a commercial building. Our aim is to make a difference to the world by solving the growing challenge of energy wastage and therein paving the way to yearlong savings and a comfortable work environment.
Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
Ans: 75F’s Building Intelligence System uses IoT and smart algorithms in the cloud to not only optimize energy efficiency but also proactively control the HVAC, indoor air quality (IAQ), and lighting systems in a commercial building based on inputs from sensors, weather data, occupant preferences and predictive algorithms. Broadly, the innovative solution provides commercial buildings with up to 50% savings on energy, enhanced occupant comfort and productivity, better indoor air quality, controls automation, predictive maintenance, extended equipment lifecycles and remote management capabilities.
Take for instance our award-winning approach to HVAC Controls; Dynamic Airflow Balancing™. Leveraging IoT design philosophy and the power of cloud computing, the 75F solution achieves what was once thought to be only theoretically possible; continuous commissioning or perfect air balancing. The solution takes in hundreds of data points like weather forecast, building orientation, sun positioning, humidity, air quality and mean radiant temperature every day per site. Proprietary algorithms analyze and combine the data with real time sensor readings and from within the building in order to send the optimal control strategy to the Central Control Unit, which sends instructions to incrementally move smart dampers a few degrees at a time, creating even temperatures throughout your building.
Our portfolio also includes innovative solutions such as Advanced Lighting Automation and Control, Outdoor Air Optimisation, Indoor Air Quality Management and Facilisight, amongst others. Facilisight is a futuristic energy management tool with a dynamic UI. Facilisight’s suite of web and mobile apps allow customers to manage temperature and lighting in their buildings remotely and round the clock from anywhere using a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Q.: What is your USP?
Ans: 75F saves up to 50% on energy while improving occupant experience by up to 10%:
- By deploying a vertically integrated suite of sensors, equipment controllers, software, building intelligence analytics and user interface
- Using Applied AI and Machine Learning to deliver predictive, proactive Building Controls
- Harnessing the power of IoT and Cloud Computing to predict, monitor and proactively manage various elements in a commercial building
Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have? Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have at least one of them signed up?
Ans: When we launched operations in India in 2016, we started by focusing on a few key verticals including IT/ITeS, Healthcare and Hospitality in the four major metros. Today, we are managing more than 1.2 million square feet and our list of happy clients includes brands like Firstsource Solutions, Flipkart, Bennett-Coleman Group, L&T Infotech, Mercedes Benz, Maple Tree, Shell, HP, Altisource and many more. We are looking at more avenues and profitable business verticals such as SMEs, BFSI, Co-working spaces and Retail. Factors like climate change, increasing air pollution and changing preferences of millennial employees in India has made it an ideal time to redefine things. 75F is well-placed to take care of this unfulfilled need.
Q.: How are you pricing the Product? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc.? Explain your thought process.
Ans: 75F solutions provide commercial buildings customers with Energy efficiency, Thermal and lighting comfort, improved Indoor Air Quality, Automation & Remote manageability. This includes a vertically integrated solution comprising of hardware, sensors, software and analytics plus machine learning. The cost of the solution varies based on the unique requirements of the building, but as a rule of thumb our highly customized solution tailored to suit customer needs, compares very favorably with existing BMS + sensors + control systems while providing a far richer interface, far greater insight and significantly enhanced automation.
As a happy customer from the US, Dan M, co-founder of Magnet 360 says, “I think it’s a fantastic solution. If you’re looking for the cost savings, it’s there. If you’re looking just to be green, it’s there. At the end of the day, if you’re looking for comfort, that’s the number one reason to roll it out.”
Q.: How did you get your first customer?
Ans: 75F is a dynamic, customer-centric, building automation company that is quickly gaining market traction with client installations internationally. In the APAC market, 75F has acquired customers primarily through robust marketing activities (such as events, telemarketing, Digital Marketing, etc), Word of mouth and through partners. The biggest testimony to 75F’s solution efficacy is that nearly 30% of our customers have given us repeat business and have recommended us to peers in the industry.
75F’s first customer in the APAC market was Firstsource Solutions Ltd (FSL), a trusted outsourcing partner for the world’s leading brands. FSL was facing hot spots and overcooling issues due to significant temperature differences in different parts of its Mumbai office. This affected employee’s productivity, and in turn, the company’s output. 75F deployed its Dynamic Airflow Balancing and Dynamic Chilled Water solutions across the facility, along with automation controls suited to the layout of the building. 75F’s predictive solution incorporated with machine learning algorithms collects 650 data points every minute and transmits this to a wireless central control unit (CCU), the supervisory control and gateway to the cloud for processing and predictive controls. 75F’s intuitive, self-learning system optimizes settings by learning occupancy patterns and angle of the sun to eliminate the need for manual intervention and control, increasing operational team productivity.
75F‘s solution at Firstsource enabled the company to achieve 45.63% energy savings without compromising occupancy comfort. Also, the lower installation cost than its competitors and significant energy savings resulted in the solution paying for itself in 2.05 years. According to Mr. Manjunath Srivatsa, Sr. VP of Facilities and Admin at Firstsource Solutions, “Since we installed 75F’s solution we’ve achieved significant savings on our energy bills and have noticed a considerable improvement in comfort levels. Moreover, 75F’s solution helped improve the productivity of my team.”
Q.: Is there any interesting success story? If yes, please write about it. ?
Ans: You can refer to our L&T Infotech Case Study for this. Download here.
Q. 11 b: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product/service leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Ans: 75F is on a mission to make your buildings work for you! Every building is dynamic and hence its control system should be dynamic too. We’ve harnessed the power of cloud computing and IoT to create smart HVAC and advanced lighting solutions that predict, monitor and manage the needs of your building. Whether you are looking to optimize comfort and productivity, increase energy efficiency or gain insight, our easily-deployed solutions eliminate inefficiencies, provide precise temperature control, improve air quality and bolster your bottom line.
Q.: Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture? What is the current turnover? (From Launching till date total no. of visitors on website/persons registered/enquiries and enrollment). Please explain in details:
Ans: 75F accelerated its financial progress between 2016 and 2018 and registered year-on-year growth between 400% and 600% during that time.
This growth was achieved primarily through high-value projects from APAC customers and due to the value enhancement of customers. The ongoing success has resulted in 75F growing its portfolio, entering new markets, and serving new verticals. For instance, the company enhanced its product portfolio from providing solutions for comfort to energy efficiency, indoor air quality management, and remote manageability; expanded its scope from light commercial buildings to medium and large buildings; and extended its service from brownfield to greenfield projects.
We expect to grow by triple digits in coming years, which will be largely driven by increasing awareness on the positive impact of transformational technologies for optimizing building performance and due to our growth strategy of approaching energy service companies (ESCOs) for route-to-market via operating expenditure (OPEX) model and Occupant Experience custom-centric approach across markets.
Q.: What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? Uniqueness about your Startup.
Ans: Building automation (BA) is a healthy growing market with huge potential for deep innovation in its automation and management layer involving transformational technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, cloud, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
With improving quality of life, booming industrialization and fast-growing awareness about the advantages of Building Automation & Control Systems (BACS), the Indian BACS market is estimated to grow at CAGR of over 18% during 2016 – 2021. Growing concerns regarding the increasing demand-supply gap for electricity and excess greenhouse gas emissions are driving growth for smart building solutions in the Indian market. When you add existing buildings, openness of customers to retrofit & the fact that very few other players are addressing that segment, the market attractiveness becomes even higher.
We understand the importance of keeping operating costs low, improving occupant experience and delivering greater efficiencies within a tight budget across commercial buildings in India. Across sectors and verticals, Indian facility managers are increasingly becoming energy conscious while at the same time prioritizing occupant comfort and safety. Customers see value in investing in our truly predictive, pro-active and self-learning solution that drives away inefficiencies while increasing their bottom line.
Our unique contribution is that we contribute to our customer’s triple bottom line in a smarter, more intuitive way & at a lower cost:
- Increase employee productivity (social),
- Reduce energy usage (environment) and,
- Increase profit (economic).
Q.: List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles – How you see them evolving over time. What would be each of their Skillsets? – Elaborate also if any of the team members has a specific domain expertise.
- Deepinder Singh, Founder & CEO: UI maverick. Deepinder has designed some of the world’s fastest core networks for Tier 1 service providers like AT&T, NTT and Verizon. And with almost 25 years of experience in electronics and computing, he’s brought a wealth of embedded products to the market. His key goal in every endeavor is to simplify operational complexity and make products intuitive.
- Mike Gustafson, COO: Mike has 35 years of business experience, including 23 years in senior management. Mike spent most of his career at Ecolab, a $14B Fortune 500 company. Mike had responsibilities including finance, marketing, operations, human resources, Information technology, and sales, before assuming full P&L ownership for two different businesses with over 1000 employees and $150 million in revenues.
- Bob French, Chief Evangelist: As co-founder of a top U.S. interactive agency, a media-on-demand kiosk network, and LED lighting business, Bob has an unusual understanding of both the technology and marketing sides of business. Bob is also Entrepreneur in Residence at University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business where he mentors business students and startups in all aspects of starting a business.
- Gaurav Burman, VP & APAC Head: Gaurav spent much of the last 20 years in Sales in the IT, Energy management & Automation sectors, with cos like PCL, IBM, L&T, APC and Schneider Electric. In his career, he has handled diverse portfolios including product management, alliances, enterprise sales & most recently, Marketing, where he was a part of the Management Team of Schneider Electric, South Asia.
Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?
Ans: 75F is uniquely differentiated from competition as a vertically integrated suite of sensors, equipment controllers, software, building intelligence analytics and user interfaceability & platform expandability.
While there are many players in the Building Controls sector, there really are none that provide the entire solution – from hardware and software to Big data analytics and user interface. Very few other players in the market offer predictive, pro-active controls that are truly based on cloud-computing & IoT. Most others use legacy on-premise server architecture with the inherent costs, complexity, maintenance & limited life.
In other words, 75F = Building Automation+ Energy Management + Remote Monitoring + HVAC Controls + Lighting Automation + Indoor Air Quality Management.
Therefore, it competes with various players across different layers of its solutions as demonstrated in the image below.
Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
Ans: When it comes to core technology, 75F’s ability to adapt in a rapidly changing IoT landscape has allowed us to be more prepared to the changing needs of customers and end users. Beyond HVAC, where we have ushered in a fundamental paradigm shift by introducing self-learning optimal control systems that are proactive instead of reactive, we have expanded our focus to advanced lighting solutions and energy management solutions. Over the coming years, we will continue to grow our portfolio, enter new markets and start serving new verticals.
We are expanding our offering across numerous Sectors and in multiple ways that include adding to the capabilities of our solutions, expanding our services suite and deploying additional go-to-market channels to name a few. Newer technologies such as 75F, lead to much higher levels of deployment in retrofits or brownfield projects. This is in addition to new building deployments which presents an enormous opportunity with the Indian economy looking robust for the medium-term growth.