The built environment generates nearly 50 percent of annual global carbon emissions, and of those total emissions, building materials and construction are responsible for an additional 20 percent.
In its goal to build a carbon reduction plan for “every existing building on the planet,” Audette wants to tackle the issue at a large scale and analyze cities’ worth of buildings.
The Victoria-based company has raised $12.8 million CAD ($9.5 million USD) in seed funding to ‘level up’ the decarbonization of buildings, with a plan to launch across 150 North American cities over the next two years, including 40 in Canada.
“It’s largely a factor of not having the intelligence we need to drive those decisions forward, that’s why I launched Audette.”
Launched in 2020, Audette’s platform uses artificial intelligence to capture, monitor, and analyze building data to identify emissions-reduction opportunities. Its large-scale focus comes into play with the customers it targets. Audette aims to work with large property owners or managers, such as pension funds that may have real estate portfolios, or city managers with decarbonization plans.
A number of Audette’s investors for this round align with its interests in cleantech and real estate. The round was led by Buoyant Ventures, which is a United States-based venture firm that invests in climate tech. The rest of the investors represent a mix of cleantech focus with many from the United States, as Audette sees a sizable market opportunity there.
The financing round received contributions from Energy Impact Partners, Turnham-Green Capital, Active Impact Investments, and Powerhouse Ventures. Other investors were: Osgoode Properties, which owns and manages over 5,000 apartment rentals throughout Canada; and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning company Johnson Controls.
This new capital will be allocated towards Audette’s roll out into 150 more cities, an expansive jump from the five locations in Western Canada that the startup currently operates in. Audette hopes to reach that number of cities within the next two years.
Audette founder and CEO Christopher Naismith told BetaKit he is seeing an increasing number of cities adopt decarbonization plans everyday, and with a mix of private and public customers Audette hopes to win each market.
“We’re investing in modelling out these cities … We’re activating it into the asset managers and into the constituencies within their portfolios,” Naismith said. “We’ve selected the ones with the highest concentration of high value properties such that we can use that market demand that we’re generating to leverate cities into taking deeper action.”
Audette has raised $13.8 million CAD in total funding to date, including $1 million CAD that it raised last year to build its proof of concept. At the time, the startup defined the $1 million round as seed capital. With this latest round, Audette and its investors reclassified the financing to pre-seed after claiming that it pivoted its focus and reformulate its technology after recognizing a much larger market opportunity.
Prior to building Audette, Naismith came from a mechanical and civil engineering background where he said he got a sense of responsibility for “making good engineering decisions.” At one point in his career, Naismith worked with large corporations and institutions to build out decarbonization strategies for their assets, before he said he realized that they weren’t moving as fast as they needed to be.
“It’s largely a factor of not having the intelligence we need to drive those decisions forward, that’s why I launched Audette,” Naismith said. “In order for the world to meet its ambitious net zero targets, we need to have the intelligence at our disposal to figure out exactly where we need to apply technology, where we need to apply finance. Audette provides the intelligence to market on how to do that.”
With a workforce of 22 people, Audette plans to use a portion of this new capital to hire about 40 employees over the next 12 months. It also intends to invest in its sales and marketing efforts as it looks to decarbonize North American buildings
With files from Meagan Simpson.
Feature image courtesy Audette.