ENERGY startup Evercomm Uni-Tech Singapore came into being from two Nanyang Technological University (NTU) graduates' passion to contribute to climate change. For 26-year-old Ted Chen and his co-founder 31-year-old Phyo Koko, their interest in energy savings and energy management was what spurred the idea of starting their own company to provide solutions for just that.
Founded in August 2013, Evercomm helps large manufacturing enterprises, data centres and commercial buildings to reduce their energy management complexity and identify cost effective ways to manage and improve energy efficiency.
The founders were electrical engineering undergraduates when they first started attending hackathons to address issues that go towards energy savings and energy management. Their experience in these hackathons was what led to the idea of providing energy saving solutions in the manufacturing industry.
While Mr Chen was studying for his Masters in Technoprenuership and Innovation at NTU, he met Thomas Ng, who later joined the company in early 2015 to manage Evercomm's finance and investment matters as head of finance.
The company validates and collects data from various sources in order to analyse and define energy efficiency problems for their clients. Evercomm then uses a data driven approach to identify saving opportunities and validate measurable saving results.
"We help them answer three basic questions," says Mr Ng, "how much they consume, how much they need and how much they waste."
By asking these questions, they are able to distinguish the baseline for their customers and help them improve their energy efficiency and operational efficiency. The solutions Evercomm provides range from software algorithms to third-party hardware solutions.
What sets Evercomm apart from other energy management companies is its ability to track in real-time their clients' energy and operational efficiency. The company provides management tools such as information dashboards to visualise the relationship between energy usage and cost.
"We'd like to find how many energy problems they have, where they are wasting energy and come up with suitable solutions," says Mr Ng.
He says that Evercomm's ability to provide end-to-end management and problem-based solutions is what differentiates it from other competitors in the industry.
"Not many companies that deal with the manufacturing industry are able to close deals, end to end. Our services offer solutions from expertise consultations to hardware and data validation," says Mr Ng
Evercomm's core product is focused on using loT (Internet of Things) and machine learning technologies to simplify the energy management complexity and provide a simple tool to manage clients' energy efficiency. The company's Energy Management System (EMS) has been accredited by the IDA and it has been appointed to help Singapore government agencies data centres achieve energy efficiency goals.
With the new analytical engine, large semi-conductor factories and campuses could save up to S$1 million a year without having to change much of their hardware; they only need to tune their operations and time their energy usage.
The company operates in Singapore and Taiwan with 16 employees altogether.
Mr Ng says Evercomm's prime markets are the manufacturing industry and data centre industry because these industries are the current "core energy consumption sectors".
"Energy efficiency is the largest contributor towards climate change," says Mr Ng. Hence, Evercomm's efforts have been towards improving energy efficiency and contributing towards sustainable energy.
The company's clients include the second-largest semi-conductor foundry, Global Foundries and NTU.
Earlier this year, it bagged an eco campus project at the National Dong Hwa University in Taiwan where the company will be responsible to help the university save S$4.8 million in energy savings over seven years. This amounts to a 36 per cent reduction in energy consumption.
However, building a company has never been an easy feat. Evercomm faced the challenge of grasping the complexity of handling large manufacturing companies.
"The industry we decided to go with was the manufacturing industry and the initial challenge was to understand the core complexity of how the industry works," says Mr Ng.
"Furthermore, we had to pull in people with other expertise to build internal networking with the company," he adds.
Like most startups, funding was also an issue. The founders faced a problem in scalability and hiring more manpower.
Fortunately, the company's collaboration with NTU and the various grants and initiatives such as Accreditation@IDA have given the company a slight boost to bring them to where they are now.
It was awarded IDA CFC Grant Pioneering Data Centre Platform and Spring Singapore's TECS Proof-of-Value grant of S$500,000. Mr Chen, who is also the CEO, was in Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list this year.
Evercomm aims to progressively expand its technology into different sectors and countries. They will be raising their Series A in 2017, with the aim to further strengthen the end-to-end energy analytics offerings and support international business-to-business clients.
"In achieving continuous development on technology, we will be partnering research centres such as NTU EEE to bring cutting edge research assets to market to achieve competitive advantage as well as recognition," says Mr Ng.