David Helliwell of Small Energy Group was one of the experts on hand at the BCTIA’s IMPACT series, held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Vancouver this Thursday. Helliwell pointed out that being a startup in Vancouver is still a somewhat unusual situation as opposed to the startup climate in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. He added that RX Networks commitment to building products to manage energy in buildings is essentially a high-level approach to what is a fundamentally complex problem.
Helliwell also pointed to the recent economic downturn as good for startups for a couple of reasons. For one, recruitment has become much easier, he said, and for another, the last downturn meant bigger players stopped spending, which left room to maneuver for smaller outfits to innovate.
But the biggest challenge for his company, he said, is to connect to as many commercial and institutional buildings as possible. There’s a bit of a land grab in play, he said, and while it’s difficult now to be the enrgey-saving system of choice for buildings, in a couple of years it will be a much tougher challenge.
In future, Helliwell said, companies like Small Energy Group will tackle the waxing and waning of demand for energy by not only reducing energy use but also applying intelligence to energy use, creating systems that adapt to changing demand rather than taking an “on-off” approach.