Winnipeg tech startup acquired by Toronto firm
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A Winnipeg company that has developed unique analytics tools that helps building managers analyze indoor air quality performance has been sold to another startup in Toronto.
IoAirFlow’s intellectual property has been acquired by PremiseHQ, a company that has developing a broader service offering in the property tech market.
Matt Schaubroeck, CEO of ioAirFlow, said the Winnipeg company he and two partners have built provides analysis of air quality unlike anything else in the market.
The company has clients around North America – though not in Manitoba – and will remain active with those clients as well as completing a Research Manitoba research project in partnership with the University of Manitoba and Red River College.
But other than that its analytics tool will become part of PremiseHQ’s offerings.
Schaubroeck said the company was unable to close a round of seed capital investment earlier this year and was approaching a cash flow crunch requiring it to make a decision. Among other sources of financings, ioAirFlow has received a grant from the province’s Innovation Growth Program.
Schaubroeck said the company was frustrated in its efforts to raise capital in Manitoba — and acquire local customers —although its technology was well received in the market.
“We did get some value for our work (from the sale), but the main thing for us is that we will have all our debts paid off and no liabilities left on the books by the time ioAirFlow gets wrapped up in 2-3 years time (after the research project wraps up),” he said.
As well, the work they have built will continue on at PremiseHQ which is growing the suite of property services it can offer as opposed to building managers needing to use a number of different service providers. Although it too is a startup, Toronto-based PremiseHQ’s revenue is about nine times more than ioAirFlow’s.
“We heard from our clients that we have a great solution but they don’t want to have to pay another subscription,” he said. “Integration made sense. We can bring our unique and sophisticated analysis capacity and plug it into someone else’s solution.”
Premise HQ recently published results of project it conducted with QuadReal Property Group, a real estate company with a $27.4 billion real estate portfolio.
With PremiseHQ’s platform, QuadReal found an efficient and effective way to manage data from over 2,000 Internet of Things sensors, across 43 buildings and 8 cities all through one dashboard.
Courtney Senior, PremiseHQ’s vice-president of marketing, said there is growing demand from property managers from the type of automated monitoring and analysis that it offers.
“The biggest challenge is consolidating disparate data from all of these different devices and systems and processes and people and being able to manage it all in one place,” she said.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.