Energy start-up provides reliable flow of data on properties
ZiggyTec uses Internet of Things to monitor utilities usage and manage energy sustainability reporting
Peter Murphy and Kieran Murphy are the unrelated co-founders of the energy data software start-up ZiggyTec. The company was established in 2018 and now employs nine people at its base at IADT (Institute of Art, Design & Technology) in Dún Laoghaire.
ZiggyTec’s service is aimed at the owners and managers of large commercial property portfolios who need to monitor their utilities usage and provide certifying bodies with data to prove the energy sustainability credentials of their buildings – a growing investor-led demand. To meet the requirements, property owners need a consistent and reliable flow of information. However, that’s easier said than done and currently involves either manually reading meters or transcribing information from paper bills.
“The existing process is flawed as tenants don’t always comply with the sharing of utility bills and meter readings are labour intensive, time consuming, error prone and therefore costly,” Peter Murphy says. “With our technology, customers get both the data they need and the analytical platform. Electricity, water, gas, heat, temperature, humidity and CO2 readings can all be recorded in digital form and moved into the cloud for remote access. Existing systems require property managers to buy monitoring equipment and data-analysis software whereas we provide both for a single monthly service fee. Selling data is common across many industries but not in property management so our service is something new.”
ZiggyTec’s solution can deal with multiple meters across multiple sites and send the data in real time to the property’s manager. What’s sweet about its technology from the property owner’s point of view is that there are no capital costs (ZiggyTec takes the upfront expenditure), no installation fees and no maintenance charges and the technology can be installed within hours with no disruption to existing meters, buildings or tenants.
ZiggyTec uses battery-operated Internet of Things sensors to gather the information and its system operates independently of a building’s wifi. The sensors do not need to be installed by electricians or cabling companies and effectively replace existing data loggers which can be expensive to put in and maintain and require disruption of the building’s energy supply to fit. “With our solution, a customer can have live, accurate, consistent data within an hour,” Murphy says.
Peter Murphy is an engineer who spent 29 years with the ESB, rising through the ranks to senior roles including commercial director of ESB International and most recently head of energy trading. Kieran Murphy is also an engineer and spent his early career in the oil and gas industry before moving into financial services. He subsequently set up and sold his own stock market training company and since 2006 has been involved in several energy sector start-ups, including one for the ESB in the UK.
Start-up investment in the business was about €200,000 and the company has been income generating since the middle of 2018. It has a strong portfolio of high-profile clients including Hines, Aramark, Savills and Irish Life and in 2019 ZiggyTec raised €1 million in seed equity from a combination of private investors and Enterprise Ireland.
Having successfully launched its service here and gained good local market traction, the founders had begun turning their attention to the UK and Europe. However, Covid-19 has put a stop to their gallop. “It’s had a big impact because we need to build volume and we had overseas contracts ready to go and obviously no one has been able to travel to complete them,” Murphy says.
However, there is a silver lining to the company’s Covid-19 experience. Air quality has suddenly shot up the corporate agenda, especially for organisations planning to reopen office buildings, and inquiries about this aspect of the company’s service have gone up significantly in the last couple of weeks.