Building a business is hard. From the acorn of an original idea, entrepreneurs face a challenge to cultivate the seedling before digging deeper still to grow it into an established force in the market.
No wonder, then, that Stephen McNulty places great importance upon the mission of a startup.
“If you are convinced your mission is correct, you will do everything it takes to make it successful,” the CEO of Ambisense tells TechBlast.
Founded in Dublin in 2014, Ambisense is an Internet of Things and artificial intelligence analytics business focused on monitoring environmental risks.
Its products are used to analyse environments in places such as offices, schools, factories and hospitality venues, as well as major infrastructure projects including the multi-billion-pound Lower Thames Crossing.
AmbiAir, for example, combines connected hardware with intelligent software that not only automates the analysis of data, but also uses complex algorithms to predict indoor air quality and identify potential unsafe hotspots, alerting users minutes, or even hours in advance.
The climate emergency and resulting rush for ESG credentials among businesses – many of whom are also keen to protect their assets amid increasingly extreme weather events – gave Ambisense’s mission great relevance in the wider world, while COVID provided yet another as organisations sought to ensure their indoor spaces were as safe as possible.
“The pandemic created a huge focus on indoor air quality. We found our product stack and commercial opportunities suddenly pulled in a direction not obvious to us 12 months before,” explains McNulty.
“The solution calculates ventilation levels and COVID-19 risk by monitoring CO2, temperature, and humidity, with early, predictive notification allowing users to take a proactive, low-cost, risk management approach such as opening windows or automatically adjusting HVAC before a space becomes an unsafe environment.
“We are currently working with a large UK financial institution to monitor the air quality across their estate and with an Irish university, NCIRL, to monitor the air quality across their campus as they work to bring students and faculty back safely.”
Ambisense, which opened a UK base in 2017, has secured a total of €5.1 million in funding over three rounds since 2018. The latest round was led by BGF and supported by existing investors including Sure Valley, Atlantic Bridge and Enterprise Ireland.
“Try to enjoy the journey!” is McNulty’s advice to startup entrepreneurs. “It is a thrilling ride and the outcome is never certain. And let’s face it, it’s better than having a real job!”