A European PropTech View, with Sjur Usken ClevAir.

Welcome to 'A European PropTech View, by Dilan Omari-Clark', a Q&A focused on European PropTech's.


It's an opportunity for our European team to discuss all things PropTech, Start-ups, and Career with different founders from across the continent. Each month we will 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 as much as we have. 

This week we have been in touch with Sjur Usken, Founder of ClevAir

ClevAir is based Norway, and was founded in 2016. ClevAir help businesses to cut energy costs, increase productivity, and move into the modern world with IoT solutions. They have been recognised as one of the leading Norwegian technologies for higher sustainability whilst also making the list of Norway’s top 10 startups to watch out for in 2018.

How did you find yourself working in the PropTech sector?

Back in 2016, we used to be amazed how technologically backward the building sector was. Almost all the buildings were being operated manually. The energy consumption and CO2 production of buildings were also unprecedentedly high, and we wished to change that.

We believed that with the use of modern software and machines, we would be able to run buildings much more efficiently. Remote insights and control will make the lives of building managers much easier, and also make buildings more efficient. I am proud to say that we have been able to realize our dream.

What are your long-term plans for your business?

Keep working until all the buildings have been made sustainable.

What is a frequently asked question you get about your product?

“How does it work?” has to be the most frequently asked question. The answer is quite simple actually. We just extract all data from the ventilation, heating, and cooling systems in the building, add weather forecast info, and then let our algorithms decide how best to operate the building. This not only allows for a healthy indoor environment, but also saves a lot of energy and costs.

At what point did you realise there was a gap in the market and you had the product for it?

We actually started selling the solution, then made a prototype, and then started the company. Slightly unorthodox way of starting a business, but it worked out well.

What are the challenges in PropTech for your company?

The mindset of the real-estate industry has to be the main challenge. Remember that real estate is considered one of the last two industries (other one being manufacturing) to be digitized.

Mostly small organizations with financial backgrounds are running buildings. Selling technology to such people can be very difficult. Proptech was still a buzzword back in 2017, and only after 2019 did it become widely known in Norway. Even now the awareness is there, but the readiness to invest is missing. We hope that changes soon.

Future of PropTech, what do you think is going to be important this year?

The COVID situation changed virtually everything. There is a strong focus on energy-efficient buildings, with the EU taxonomy coming down like a massive sledgehammer, demanding ⅕ more efficient buildings every 5 years, until buildings are emissions free in 2050. This will definitely be a huge trend this year, I think.

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