vilisto’s digital plug-and-play thermal management solution enables immediate cost and CO2 savings in non-residential buildings. The startup originated at the Technical University of Hamburg (TU Hamburg) and has raised €5 million in a recent financing round from its main investors SET Ventures and E.R. Capital Holding as well as existing investors. The financing sum is to be used for the company’s growth and the development of further products and services.
Christoph Berger’s business idea came about during his studies of energy technology at the Technical University of Hamburg: In his master’s thesis, he dealt with the prediction of room temperatures in unknown rooms and buildings. In doing so, he worked with algorithms that take outdoor temperature and solar radiation into account. In 2014, he saw a sign on campus: “Want to start up? Come on by!” advertised the newly created Startup Dock at TU Hamburg, which is now called Startup Port @TUHH. For Christoph, the simple sign was a timely signal: the concept of his scientific work gave rise to a product idea that was put through its paces by the advisors to see if it was a good business idea. Together with Christian Brase and Lasse Stehnken, Christoph then founded the start-up vilisto, whose mission is the nationwide introduction of digital heat management for a climate-neutral building stock in Germany and many other countries.
Today, vilisto’s patented technology enables the efficient heating of buildings and thus addresses one of the central causes of energy and CO2 emissions in the EU. With its solution, the company digitalises the heat management of non-residential buildings. At the centre is an intelligent radiator thermostat that automatically regulates the individual room temperature. Three sensors integrated into the thermostat – movement, light and sound – detect whether a room is being used and, with the help of self-learning algorithms, only heat it if it is. In this way, each room consumes less energy, resulting in energy consumption and CO2 reductions of up to 32 percent for companies and municipalities.
What makes vilisto’s technology stand out in a sector with many solutions on offer is its combination of simplicity and efficiency. vilisto’s solution can be implemented on the fly in minutes and without any construction or IT integration measures – resulting in immediate energy savings.
A large part of the Series A funding came from Amsterdam-based venture capitalist SET Ventures, which has made a name for itself investing in digital technologies for a carbon-free energy system since 2007. Dr Till Stenzel, lead partner of SET Ventures, highlights the simplicity of vilisto’s solution: “After looking at different approaches, it was the simplicity of vilisto’s solution that convinced SET Ventures. Their technology is easy to implement, you can really call it ‘plug and play’ – building owners install the vilisto devices in every room and immediately start reducing their heating costs. It’s a solution that benefits everyone.”
vilisto is a pioneer in the German market. With more than 200 clients owning around 35,000 buildings, vilisto’s solution has proven itself many times over and is now ready to be scaled further. And demand is understandably huge: building owners and the public sector, with a total of more than 1,000,000 non-residential buildings across Europe, are looking for sustainable energy efficiency solutions.
E.R. Capital Holding, a Hamburg-based investment holding company and the second main investor in the financing round, has identified vilisto’s climate protection effect as another important selling point. “We are looking for solutions that provide immediate CO2 reduction, and vilisto clearly falls into this category. The vilisto product will make a significant contribution to the real estate industry achieving its ambitious reduction targets and we are pleased to support the team on this journey,” says David Falcone Schlüter, Head of Business Development & Controlling.
“We are ready for exponential growth,” emphasises Christoph Berger, co-founder and CEO of vilisto. “Through this funding and the cooperation with competent and experienced investors such as SET Ventures and E.R. Capital Holding, we are ready for the next chapter. Our technology has already proven its effectiveness and savings potential many times over. We want to use our leading position in the market to further improve the energy efficiency of the building sector in Germany and the EU.”
For the future, vilisto plans to introduce further services to meet additional needs of its customers. “We are very much looking forward to working with the vilisto team as they continue to develop their product offering and expand into new markets,” says Dr Stenzel. “It’s a critical problem to solve and an elegant solution they’ve created to address it. We can’t wait to see what happens next!”
vilisto is a Hamburg-based climate protection company specialising in the development of intelligent heating solutions. At the heart of vilisto’s digital heat management solution are thermostats with integrated presence detection and self-learning algorithms that recognise the usage behaviour of individual rooms and automatically optimise the heating behaviour of non-residential buildings. This not only saves up to 32 percent heating energy, but also makes an important contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.
About SET Ventures
Since 2007, Amsterdam-based venture capitalist SET Ventures has been investing in digital technology for a CO2 emission-free energy system by supporting pioneering founders with capital, contacts and know-how. SET Ventures invests in companies with sustainable solutions and a strong digital DNA that drive systemic change in the generation, distribution, storage and consumption of energy in sectors such as distributed infrastructure, retail energy, buildings, mobility and industry, as well as enabling technologies.
SET Ventures online