Last month, Aquicore CEO Logan Soya sat down to discuss commercial real estate technology with Scott Sidman, Senior Vice President at Building Engines. On the agenda: empowering and preparing your team for the commercial real estate technology revolution. We will be sharing question and answer segments from the podcast over the next few weeks. Now, let’s turn to Scott and Logan.
Scott Sidman: A rite of passage here on CRE Tech Talks is to ask our guests, as a way to introduce themselves, to share one unique or unusual fact about themselves or their background.
Logan Soya: I have a few things that might be of interest to the audience. The first is that, although I’m a technologist at heart, I love to shave with a straight razor. Something has never gotten to me about these other types of razors that come out on the market, and there’s something really satisfying about having a proper shave that way. The second thing is that I almost decided not to get my MBA and almost decided not to do business because I thought I could be an Olympic triathlete. I was pretty close to pulling the trigger. I was training with some really interesting guys that were going to Beijing at the time, but for better or worse, here I am on the business side of things.
Scott: On the triathlete decision, any regrets now that you’ve been in the tech field and have your MBA, do you wish you had done it?
Logan: I always look back and think, at least I would probably be in way better shape than I am now, with all the hours that I would have put in, but I’m pretty happy with the types of people I get to be around with what we’re doing here.
Scott: Let’s talk a little bit, then, about what you’re doing now, your background, and how you started Aquicore.
Logan: I actually come from the academic side of things originally. My undergrad was physics. I then worked in the telecom industry for about seven years before I went into doing my MBA at Georgetown and wound up in Business School with a dual degree. Then, at that point, about a year into that was when I founded Aquicore. I had gotten an internship; I guess you would call it a blue-chip venture capital firm in the Bay. It really opened my eyes to what was possible in terms of how businesses are started. I then took the plunge and stopped interviewing to make it my full-time gig.
Scott: What does the company do, and how do you help your clients?
Logan: Aquicore is a real-time energy monitoring solution for a large commercial real estate. We are a full-stack solution for both the hardware, and the software, and the delivery component, meaning that we can put in and install web-enabled meters for electricity, water, and gas data. We pull that data on a real-time basis, minute-by-minute for your commercial real estate portfolio.
The most clear data use is reducing the building’s energy footprint. We typically see results of 12 to 20%, but we can also use it for streamlining business operations around energy management. Very often our customers in the CRE industry are billing their tenants back for their energy consumption. It’s still a manual process, so that’s a process that we can fully automate now through our services.
Then, as we are seeing more and more clients come on line on our service, we’re finding more and more interesting uses. Things around measurement and verification, budgeting and forecasting, so it’s a pretty exciting plethora of data that we get to make some sense of and turn into something actionable.
I started Aquicore about three years ago now. We’ve grown to over 500 buildings using our tool to date. We’ve grown to an employee base of just around 30 now, and we’re continuing to see pretty strong growth in that direction as well, so it’s a pretty exciting time.
Scott: How would you identify a good prospect for you, what does your typical customer look like?
Logan: We really specialize in two particular segments to date. The first is commercial real estate office and mixed use. That’s a core function for us where we’ve seen a lot of success and a lot of growth. The second is in corporate real estate, so owner-occupied corporates. Major clients include Under Armour, Brookfield, and DTZ. So we have a pretty good blend of experience in those particular assets. Most of the assets that we do business in are probably bigger than thirty or forty-thousand square feet, and that can range all the way to over a million. Once you’re above that particular threshold, it’s pretty easy to make the value proposition case.
Scott: How do you differentiate what you offer, and how you stand out among other companies in the space?
Logan: Being a full-stack service, we really take on all of what it takes to deliver this real-time energy monitoring, from the metering, to the delivery aspect, to the software itself. That really helps us specifically in speed to value, meaning that we’re typically pretty quick out of the gate to get your system up and running. Installation time is usually in the 30-days range, which is pretty aggressive in the commercial real estate.
We’re a bit more extendable, meaning that we can do electricity, water, and gas, and we can do just building level metering, as well as detailed submetering of the building, so that sort of added deeper dive into a building can add a lot of value, especially for the more sophisticated client.
The last thing that I’ll say is that the platform is really built to be extendable, meaning that even if you’re not the most sophisticated client in terms of energy monitoring, we can get you up and running at a very low cost. But as you mature as a client, and you mature as an organization towards these higher, deeper levels of understanding with energy monitoring and what you could do with it, the platform can still sort of grow with you, so you won’t have to skip to another thing, or take another vendor, or go on to another solution as your organization grows.