A European PropTech View, Robert Heinecke, Founder of Breeze Technologies.
Welcome back to 'A European PropTech View, by Dilan Omari-Clark' our Q&A focused on European PropTech's.
Our Q&A series is an opportunity for our European team, headed up by Dilan Omari-Clark to discuss all things PropTech, Start-ups, and Career with different founders from across the continent. Each week we ask our guests some burning questions and quiz them about their product, we hope you find it insightful and enjoy getting to know the founders.
Breeze Technologies provides an environmental intelligence platform that offers hyperlocal, comprehensive and accurate air quality data, as well as insights and actionable recommendations. Breeze's platform integrates a multitude of public and private air quality data sources, as well as the startup's own low-cost air quality sensors. The collected data is then aggregated and assimilated through different applications. Smart algorithms evaluate air quality in real time, suggest the most efficient and effective air quality improvement measures, connect customers to intervention partners and track the success of implemented and ongoing interventions for both smart buildings and cities.
The company was founded in 2015 and is based in Hamburg, Germany.
How did you find yourself working in the PropTech sector?
Back in 2014, I was living and working in Istanbul. That was for me the very first time that I encountered heavy smog. At some parts of my stay there, I could barely see the other side of the street anymore! Digging deeper into the topic, I found that today’s cities simply lack the data to effectively tackle their air pollution challenges. The idea for Breeze Technologies was born: to use lower-cost sensors to generate hyperlocal air quality information, and to use that to support decision making about urban planning and clean air action.
At what point did you realise there was a gap in the market, and you had the product for it?
I saw the gap immediately. But still, when you identify a challenge in the field, you still need to think about a business model, customer profile, technological feasibility, and so on. We were very lucky that from the start we got support from an EU accelerator programme called SpeedUP! Europe. The programme not only helped us financially, but also provided mentoring, workshops and other support. That in turn allowed us to quickly iterate on our ideas, develop an MVP and find first customers. R&D started in February 2015, and in June we already had the first users trialling our solution. We originally started with a solution to monitor and improve indoor air quality, and later on extended our expertise with urban air quality management. In 2019, we even started working in industrial ambient emission monitoring.
What are the challenges in Proptech for your company?
The huge diversity of technological standards and interfaces is definitely a challenge. We saw this immediately when we started working on indoor air quality, and had a look at building management systems and building automation frameworks. There are a lot of different systems that you potentially can integrate, and chances are that each and every of your first few customers has a different system with different standards.
Additionally, the landscape of PropTech users is quite fragmented. We work with everybody from initial urban planning processes, to construction site management, until building operation and facilities management. That’s a very diverse bunch of users with quite different use cases and requirements.
What is a frequently asked question you get about your product?
Future of PropTech, what do you think is going to be important this year?
Back-to-office will play a huge role. We currently have a lot of companies reaching out to us that want to make their workspaces - especially shared offices and co-working spaces - Covid-resilient. Last autumn, we launched a solution for Coronavirus spread risk mitigation based on our indoor air quality product. There is a huge demand.
Also, we are of course talking about sustainability along the property value chain. More and more solutions get adopted that can efficiently manage building processes and systems - and there we are talking about automation again.
What are your long-term plans for your business?
To become the go-to provider for everything around air quality. The more data we capture, and the more projects we participate in, the better we also become at providing insights and recommendations about clean air action to customers and partners. You can imagine that part of our Environmental Intelligence Cloud a bit like Google Search - every time you click a search result, it becomes a bit better at knowing what you look for. Every time we recommend and implement an action - and measure its impact - we know even better how it is going to perform in the future.