For the past several years, several companies in the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) portfolio started working together to accomplish shared goals. This is a story of one of those partnerships.
In 2019, IN2 invited its portfolio companies to participate in the VERGE conference to highlight their energy related technologies. During that event 75F and J2 Innovations met for the first time.
J2 Innovations’ VP of Customer Experience Scott Muench said, “As an alumnus of the IN2 program and a tech company that had been recently acquired by Siemens, we were viewed as a good example of how the program works. 75F was just getting started and years later serendipitously, they showed up as a company that could leverage FIN Framework.”
FIN is a software framework with application suites that can integrate, control, manage, analyze, visualize, and connect.
J2 creates a software framework for connecting devices that make it easier for smart buildings and smart equipment to work together. 75F CEO and Founder Deepinder Singh said, “We make dumb buildings smart. We control indoor quality, HVAC, temperatures, and energy so people can stay comfortable while saving money.”
Both J2 and 75F adopted the open standard and protocol called Project Haystack which made it easier for the two companies to work together.
“J2 is complementary because we do a great job in handling the new equipment, and J2 does a great job of working with existing legacy equipment. They do a phenomenal job,” Singh said. “Because of J2, we can go to a customer site and have the best of both worlds. If the customer doesn’t want to upgrade everything in one go, J2 allows them to keep some of the older stuff.”
Both companies just announced a collaboration to improve the energy efficiency of mid-sized commercial buildings. As part of the collaboration, 75F and J2 will standardize on the use of a Domain Modeler—a tool that allows the Project Haystack community to contribute peer-reviewed, plug-and-play digital twin models of building controls and equipment. The tool lets community members easily create templates for building systems according to Project Haystack semantic tagging standards, re-usable by anyone else in the community thereafter.
“The mid-sized commercial building market is ripe with opportunity for adding smart technology, but has been historically a challenge to solve,” Muench said. “The combination of 75F’s hardware and cloud application with FIN make a powerful solution.”
Both point to their involvement in IN2 as a shared experience that made it easier to connect.
“It is important for startups to form collaborations, especially when they have complimentary technologies. I feel like the concept of competition is overrated,” Singh said. “I personally am a huge fan of collaborating and supporting each other. Don’t be afraid of collaborating and being open with other startups in a similar space.”
Muench agrees, believing that the IN2 program provides a resource pool many other startups don’t have access to.
“There’s a huge wealth of knowledge in that group and if you partner with someone that’s like minded, you already have something in common. It’s a great icebreaker and a great way to continue the conversation about how you can add synergies to each other,” he said.