In this day and age, we have come to depend greatly on air conditioner to cool down the environment, especially our offices and homes. Especially in this hot weather, it seems like we have to turn it on more often than not – the entire time we are working and while we are in the comfort of our homes.
This will ultimately cause our electricity bill to be on the high side, and it is also not good for the environment as well. Smart Investor interviewed Brice Degeyter, General Manager of Bizsu, to find out more about their mission to help company’s save energy and costs.
Smart Investor: What is Bizsu and what are you set out to do?
Brice Degeyter: I founded Bizsu in 2019 to help make decarbonization easy for businesses. We do this by helping companies cut down very simply what consumes 60% of a company’s energy and operating costs on electricity: Air Conditioning (AC). The truth is AC units have become an essential part of modern life, but this simple refrigeration technology has remained relatively unchanged since its creation in the 1920s. As climate change effects like rising temperatures and heat waves encourage more AC use, the increase in energy needed to cool us down could easily accelerate climate change. So therefore, any effort on cutting down air cond bills, can also help save the planet!
SI: How does your product work to reduce air conditioning bills?
BD: Our product helps users save on average around 25% in energy consumption using a patented natural ceramic air conditioning filter technology. It’s really based on physics and how air conditioning works. In the traditional air conditioner that we have at home, the air is sucked in at the top, goes through the aircon unit, and then comes back down to cool a room. The air that is sucked contains moisture. We then insert our Bizsu net inside the unit. This breaks down the air water molecules going out of the aircon. This way, the surface area of the room is covered faster, so the AC stops faster. So you end up using less energy, and that means lower electricity bills. We have done lab tests and recorded, on average, 25%, consistently. Variables include the type of air conditioning unit, the type of room, and how the thermostat is set up, as well as the function of the room. Data centres for example, may require higher cooling compared to an office or university lecture hall, and the savings, therefore, may be quite different – with savings of anything from 8% to 50%. We’ve seen similar results from on-site installations at client sites as well.
SI: What is your customer base currently?
BD: We currently work with around 35 large companies. We have been securing between two to four new clients every month – and of late, it’s been more like two new clients every week. You might also like Brice Degeyter, General Manager of Bizsu Authority Institute’s Maverick Foo named Vistage Malaysia’s Speaker of the Year Digital Niaga Empowers Local Businesses With Digital Access To Financial Solutions for Micro, Small Medium Enterprises’ (MSMEs) Bizsu: On A Mission To Cool Down The World And Save The Environment Today, more companies come to us instead of us reaching out to them which was the case two years ago. Most of our business today has been through referrals – or word of mouth – as our clients see the savings in their energy consumption bills almost immediately.
SI: How has your revenue growth been since starting out?
BD: We’ve been growing by roughly 10X every year since the beginning, so 1,000% over the past 3 years. We are targeting to end 2023 at around RM7 million in revenue. SI: Can this innovative product be installed only in new HVACs? Is there an optimum size for 25% energy efficiency to be realised? Our solution can work on any type and any size of air conditioner. Variables include the type of air conditioning unit, the type of room, and how the thermostat is set up as well as the design and function of the room.
SI: Are there particular industries / building types that would easily benefit from this? Can they run a pilot?
BD: Absolutely! We now work with many large real estate companies. We joined the Capital Land Sustainability Challenge two years ago and from this we did a pilot of our solution in some of their buildings which gave them 51% savings in their electricity costs. They called us “magicians” and we have been implementing our nets in more buildings.
We hope to work with more real estate developers and real estate owners as well – particularly to run a proof of concept in Malaysia in the next few months. A pilot might start at around RM10,000 which is relatively cheap just to start with, and depending on the size of the floor or room that the company has, they can easily recognise savings in the millions.
We have the capacity to equip around 10 big buildings every month – from data centres, offices, hotels, warehouses, learning institutions and more. So the installation work is quite efficient as well without disruption to the business operations. We can complete a 30-floor office building in one day. That said, gaining customer trust is very, very crucial. At the beginning there were just very few people who thought that something this simple could save 25% on energy bills and with a 20 year warranty sounded too good to be true. But our customers have proven that it is!
SI: How easy is it to install and maintain this new technology? What’s the warranty period?
BD: No modifications are required for the AC unit or for electricity to be switched off during installation. Bizsu’s CONTINEWM® Nets can be installed above the filter at the air return of the AC unit and it is ready for use. We recommend dusting off the nets with a dry cloth whenever your AC servicing takes place. Best of all, CONTINEWM® has a 20-year warranty.
SI: How are you expanding into Malaysia and how is the Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI) assisting you in this regard?
BD: MRANTI has helped us raise product awareness and introduce us to prospective clients and bigger companies in Malaysia. Having a government agency supporting us through this programme helps open doors. Right now we are present in Malaysia, we are present in Singapore and we are focused as well in Taiwan.
Main funding sources and funding rounds
In terms of funding, we mainly talk to angel investors or family offices who can really help us grow in a country or in various countries. We raised a pre-seed of RM1 million, now we’re raising seed of RM1.8 million by Q3 this year. We are already profitable as of today, and the goal is to stay there. The goal is just to keep increasing the number of clients that we can serve and remain profitable.
SI: What are some key growth opportunities and challenges ahead?
BD: We have an objective to help our clients save 1,000,000 tonnes of CO2 within the next five years. We have just started acquiring customers and the potential is huge as we can serve many sectors – real estate, hospitals, schools, hotels, data centres, residential complexes, malls and more! The transportation sector is an area we are potentially exploring. How cool would it be if we can have it in the metro trains, buses, cars, including in electric vehicles! I believe there will be more climate-friendly solutions in our hands that help us have a much bigger impact than what we can do today.
SI: Tell us about the Hummingbird in your logo?
BD: One day, there was a fire in the forest. And all of them but the hummingbird leave the forest. Instead, he goes and picks up a drop of water in the lake and drops it into the fire. All the animals look and ask: “What are you doing? You really think you’re going to stop the fire just on your own?” The Hummingbird says, “No, but at least I do my part.” Bizsu’s goal is to do our part in decarbonising the economy and reducing the impact of climate change. What we will do in five years will be towards this, trying to do more. I believe there will be more solutions that help us have a much bigger impact than what we can do today. What will that be, exactly? The future can only tell.