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Our Investment in Runwise
A smarter way to run buildings
The vast majority of buildings in the US run on inefficient technology designed in the 1960s and 70s. These outdated systems are wasting billions of dollars and emitting tons of CO2 emissions in our atmosphere. In fact, nearly 28% of carbon emissions in cities come from buildings for operations like heating, cooling, and water. For buildings that are equipped with ancient technology, it can be a headache for property owners to manage and operate these antiquated appliances. Not to mention, increasing fuel prices to keep things running and habitable for people who live and work in these spaces. Typical installation of control technology in buildings is extremely expensive, time-consuming, and risky. But one company is transforming this industry using wireless sensor technology that is not only faster and cheaper to install, but also allows users to run buildings more efficiently.
The MCJ Collective portfolio includes several companies that are addressing the built environment, including BlocPower, David Energy, and more. We’re thrilled to add yet another company that is working to accelerate clean energy for buildings. Runwise replaces outdated, static building infrastructure with a smart modern SaaS monitoring and control platform. We’re proud to back the company’s co-founders - Jeff Carleton, Lee Hoffman and Mike Cook- as they continue to transform how buildings operate. Runwise’s solution can save landlords money, make cities more affordable, and, most importantly, protect our planet for future generations.
What is Runwise?
Runwise’s vertically integrated technology combines hardware and software that delivers results and scalability. The company’s wireless control can be installed in a day and works with any centrally heated building, including residential, commercial, and industrial. Runwise’s sensor network detects problems instantly and alerts users in real time, which allows them to quickly track and resolve any issues. The platform also adjusts heating settings automatically to balance optimal efficiency and comfort. Using their technology, Runwise offers customers a better management experience and energy savings of 20%+. Runwise claims that their software pays for itself in less than 9 months, on average.
In 2021 alone, Runwise’s technology contributed to a 21% fossil fuel reduction per building, or the equivalent of removing 35,000 cars off the road. While the company started with a focus on central heating, it recently acquired BGS Water Watch to add to its list of offerings. They also have plans to tackle other building technology, including central cooling and electrification.
Why Did We Invest?
Compelling Founder-Market Fit
Runwise’s co-founders combine expertise in both building control and scalable software and technology. The company’s CEO, Jeff Carleton, served as General Manager of Beachlane Management for 7 years where he oversaw operations and energy management for 150 multifamily buildings in NYC. His co-founder and company president, Lee Hoffman, has a degree in computer science and has been building tech startups since 2002. His previous company, Veri, exited to The Knot after raising $8 million from Redpoint amongst others. Jeff and Lee’s growing Runwise team has 50 members and is actively hiring for a variety of roles.
Significant Nationwide Policy Tailwinds
Laws regarding energy grades, carbon caps, and utility rebates will not only require Runwise’s SaaS solution for buildings, but could likely cover costs for the company to install its software at scale. In 2019, the New York City Council passed Local Law 95, which requires the owners of most large buildings to post their buildings’ energy grades. Large buildings that fall under the law’s purview face a hefty fine if they fail to post this score, but Runwise’s platform helps building owners raise their energy grades and reduce overall emissions to meet the law requirements. Additionally, Local Law 97 establishes emissions regulations and carbon caps for buildings that will drop yearly. Efficient central heating and cooling systems will be imperative for buildings to meet this requirement. Since Runwise has demonstrated significant reduction of fuel usage, many utilities in the northeast region are also willing to cover the cost of installation in a percentage of buildings.
While the aforementioned local laws and rebates currently apply to New York, recent climate policy wins, including the Inflation Reduction Act, will likely spur additional regulations in major cities elsewhere. Runwise currently operates in 4,000 out of 12 million buildings in the US, but we anticipate the company’s technology will continue to change the efficiency, affordability, and carbon footprint of cities across the country.
If you are an accredited investor and want to learn more about being an investor in our fund (to back more great companies like this one!), reach out here, and include desired quarterly commitment level, accredited investor status, and info on your background and how you could be helpful to the portfolio.