Skim through any of the Twin Cities’ business or startup publications and you’re likely to come across the name “75F.” With its bright orange colors and environmental activism, this startup is a hard one to miss. As a new member of the Minnesota High Tech Association, 75F was happy to sit down with us, share their story and talk about the company’s goal when connecting with Minnesota’s wider tech community.

A Smart Approach to Building Automation
In case you didn’t know, 75F had a big win recently when they closed on an $18 million Series A funding round co-led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Oil and Gas Climate Initiative with participation from Building Ventures, Rise of the Rest Seed Fund and Clean Energy Trust. To be recognized by such prestigious investors –which include household names like Gates, Bezos and Bloomberg- is a pretty big deal. That’s why 75F is determined to take this opportunity and run with it.

“75F’s primary mission is to make people more comfortable while saving the environment,” said Deepinder Singh, 75F’s Founder and CEO, “We aim to do this by completely disrupting the building controls industry. For too long, people have been using literally arcane, obsolete technology in the building’s control site. We aim to change that by bringing in far newer machine learning and [Internet of Things] IoT-based technologies into this domain.”

By using an IoT approach to building management, this Burnsville startup is working smarter not harder to make smart building technology available and affordable for everyone.

“We’ve incorporated the machine learning aspects within the solution itself,” Singh said. “So the system is continuously commissioned and optimized for each and every building. That’s where the savings come from.”

Ease-of-use is also a top priority. After all, a smart system isn’t much good if it requires an engineer to set it up and operate it. To prove just how user-friendly their system is, 75F partnered with the Cyprus Classical Academy in 2017 and had some of their eight and nine-year-old students install the elementary school’s new HVAC control system. The installation was fun, educational and saved Cyprus up to 50% annually on their energy expenses.

Learning and Working with 75F
Singh believes it’s our responsibility to leave the world a better place than how we found it, for the next generations to come. Part of that belief includes educating and investing in said next generation, to help them carry the carbon-free torch. That’s partially why this busy startup takes the time to hire and train interns.

75F, MHTA, Minnesota High Tech Association, SciTechsperience Internship Program, intern, Minnesota
75F intern Brady Anderson

 

“It’s a twofold arrangement,” Singh said. “We want to make sure we provide them with a good experience so, once they graduate, they might consider coming back and working for us full time. And second -from our perspective- our interns have been fantastic in providing additional manpower.”

Last May, 75F used the MHTA’s SciTechsperience Internship Program to hire Software Engineering Intern Brady Anderson. Anderson spent that spring developing software for a new wireless Bluetooth sensor. He then integrated it with 75F’s existing product architecture.

“I really enjoyed having autonomy and the ability to work on meaningful projects,” Anderson said.

Under the guidance of the development team, he also learned how to write code for imbedded systems and worked on Android development for some 75F applications. “I’ve really exorcised my ability to learn on the job,” Anderson added.

“We’ve been very fortunate in terms of the quality of interns that we’ve got,” Singh said. “People like Brady have not just contributed to small projects, but they’ve independently written code and brought some of our products to life. For us, it’s a huge advantage to have someone who can help accelerate our development to that extent.”

This fall, Anderson is continuing his work for 75F, this time as a remote developer while he wraps up his senior year at Iowa State University “I enjoyed working at 75F, and just knowing that I’d be working on something important was a good draw for me,” he said.

Spreading the Word
75F’s environmental mission is an inspiring factor in all aspects of the company. With its new funding, the startup has plans to scale up its current operations, invest in R&D and bring new products to market, all while working towards a larger sustainability goal.

With the company’s recent recognition, Singh is eager to use this platform to unite the energy efficient high tech community and share what he believes is inherently true. “One of the things we want to do is propagate the understanding that energy efficiency is the cheapest form of renewable energy,” Singh said. “I think over the years, the pendulum has swung towards clean energy, and it almost seems like people are forgetting that we need to be energy efficient as well. Some people think that just because we can produce an abundance of solar and wind, that there’s no need to be conservative on how we use up that energy. I just want to make sure, especially on the high tech side, that people are more cognizant that renewables are not necessarily going to be the answer. We can’t get to complete green energy without necessarily cutting down the amount of energy that we use a well. That’s what I’m looking forward to, is sharing that message.”

Join the Conversation
Singh’s future is a sustainable one. “Things will be more efficient,” he said, “and that will be due in large part to us.”

If you’re interested in joining the high tech energy discussion or would like to connect with 75F, contact MHTA’s Membership Director Ray Hoover at rhoover@mhta.org to learn more about partnership opportunities within MHTA’s member directory.