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A French PropTech View with Louis Vermorel, Wattsense

16.5.22

Welcome to ‘A French PropTech View, with Elsa Vaillant our Q&A focused on French PropTech’s.

Our Q&A series is an opportunity for our French team, headed by Elsa Vaillant to discuss all things PropTech, Start-ups, and Career with different founders from across the region. Each time we will ask PropTech innovators 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 Louis Vermorel, CEO & Founder at Wattsense.

Since 2017, Wattsense has enabled real estate players to optimize the energy management of their buildings by offering an affordable and efficient connectivity solution that combines interoperability and simplicity. We contribute to a future where buildings reduce their level of greenhouse gas emissions while improving the comfort and daily life of occupants.

What has been your experience starting a PropTech in France?

France is one of the three most prominent commercial real estate markets in Europe, alongside Germany and the UK. For Wattsense, being in France as a company facilitating the use of new technologies in the building management sector is quite an advantage. We interact with key players in real estate, such as Property Owners, Facility Management companies, and other PropTechs. There’s also the introduction of exciting new regulations such as the BACS decree for Europe and the tertiary decree in France that push tertiary buildings to join the smart building movement.  

The French building management sector is making more and more room for PropTechs that can help them transform existing buildings into smart ones.

  

How do you feel the French PropTech market has changed over the past few years?

Wattsense was founded in 2017. In four years, we have experienced a positive change in the market’s adoption of new technologies. In the beginning, mentioning words like Cloud connection in a meeting would raise some eyebrows, which has changed. Right now, people are embracing the Cloud and IoT because of the great benefits that come with them. Property owners are seeing the impact of IoT solutions and building connectivity on their energy bills and the overall performance of their equipment and real estate portfolio. 

 

How are you finding the French funding landscape? What has been the process like for you when raising funds for your PropTech?

Regarding the French funding landscape, there’s certainly a growing interest by investors in PropTechs. We see more venture capitalist funds wholly dedicated to this market. At Wattsense, we were lucky to have the support of BPIFrance – Le Hub, Kreaxi and Demeter. We participated in two funding rounds before being acquired by Siemens in October 2021. 

 

How are trends within the French PropTech industry impacting your activity?

Indoor Air Quality in commercial buildings is more than a trend. It has become a priority as a result of the pandemic. Topics related to energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and the sustainability of buildings have also become a requirement for PropTechs to address with their services and products. 

Other trends such as remote working and digital nomads have highlighted the need for IoT solutions such as occupancy sensors in small and medium-size buildings to create energy-efficient workspaces. 

Wattsense allows property owners and building managers to connect and quickly install IAQ monitoring solutions, occupancy sensors, and other building equipment. They can also quickly deploy Smart Buildings applications to transform their facilities without relying on complex building management technology designed for large buildings.

 

What are your predictions for the French PropTech market for 2022 and beyond?

Two important topics that should be at the top of mind of the French PropTech market are data visualization and retrofitting existing buildings.

Data visualization

All concerned stakeholders should have accessible data access to create actual change in buildings. Data visualization is essential to develop impactful energy strategies and to guarantee equipment performance and occupants’ comfort. PropTechs focused on energy, occupants’ comfort, and building maintenance in 2022, and in the years to come, are looking for ways to access building equipment data remotely easily. 

Retrofitting existing buildings

To achieve the climate targets France and Europe have set out for 2030, such as having zero-emission buildings and improving energy efficiency, the PropTech market needs to increase the presence of new technologies in existing buildings considerably.

Currently, around 35% of the EU’s buildings are over 50 years old. Almost 75% of the building portfolio has inefficient energy consumption. Only about 1% of the building stock is renovated each year. According to the EPBD directive. 

Retrofitting buildings integrate legacy products and equipment with smart components not included in the original construction. Outdated buildings result in high maintenance costs, unproductive staff, and energy waste. 

IoT solutions like Wattsense help retrofit and upgrade buildings. We are opening the door for Smart Building apps with intuitive platforms which improve everything from day-to-day building management to long-term energy and comfort strategies.

  

What are your expansion plans for 2022 and beyond?

 We are focused on growing our team from 19 employees to 50 in the next two years to continue developing our solution while increasing our presence in different markets and expanding our distribution network. 

We will continue to develop features and functionalities that respond to our users’ needs and facilitate building connectivity for small and medium-sized buildings.

LMRE are specialist PropTech recruiters, if you need help growing your business or making any key hires please get in touch via the form below!

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