In yet another funding coup for the burgeoning “cleanweb” solutions sector, the London and New York-based analytics provider Sefaira recently received $7.2 million in Series A venture funding on October 2 from firms including Braemar Energy Ventures, Chrysalix SET and Hermes GPE. This latest funding was a growth capital infusion as part of their original Series A round that began in April 2012, when they received $10.8 million.
Offering architects cloud-based software that makes it easier to design low and zero-energy buildings, the company also landed a $2 million venture debt facility from Silicon Valley Bank, with the use of venture debt becoming a rising trend in growth capital investing. Sefaira CEO Mads Jensen tells CleantechIQ the money will be pumped into product development, to “add new features, integrate with other platforms and continue to bring the analysis closer to the architects.”
The announcement caps off a year of increasing visibility for Sefaira, which took a gold medal at the 2013 Ecosummit in Berlin, was named to the Red Herring Top 100 Europe, and on the CleanTech Group’s “Global Cleanteach 100” list. Companies like Sefaira have benefited from the efforts of Gridium, Nexant and others that develop intelligent software to decipher smart meter and power grid data. Among other features, Sefaira’s web-based platform allows building designers to analyze and compare multiple building strategies more quickly and cheaply, taking factors like energy, water, and carbon into consideration.
Architects traditionally haven’t had good software to support sustainable design, Jensen says. “Buildings have thousands of elements that all interact, and every time one aspect of a design is changed, this in turn impacts the performance of everything else,” he adds. Case in point: a building designer might decide to install more efficient lighting or glazing, a choice that would impact cooling and heating systems as well. Without taking into account “interdependencies,” the designer is effectively “operating in the dark.” Sefaira’s advantage, says Jensen, is that it allows designers to plan sustainability efforts from a project’s outset using real-time analysis, rather than add expensive systems in later stages, and that the company’s software can generate savings at a scale that “add-on” technological approaches can’t achieve.
At this stage, the CEO says that making his company’s product intuitive and easy to act upon is top priority. “If performance analysis is perceived as an extra task, or even a burden, it can make adoption very difficult,” he says. So far, more than 200 leading architecture and engineering firms utilize Sefaira’s software, according to Jensen. The CEO hopes 2014 will generate more interest and more investment opportunities, as the company preps for a Series B fundraising round. “We have a very exciting roadmap for this year and the next,” he says.