Wavemaker leads investment in uHoo
By Digital News Asia October 2, 2018
- Co-investment comes from Seeds Capital, angel investors and existing investor East Ventures
- In 14 months in the market, uHoo is already used in industries across more than 10 countries
UHOO, a Singapore-based hardware startup that detects the quality of indoor air, announced that it has secured Bridge funding ahead of its Series A. The round was led by Wavemaker Partners with co-investment from Seeds Capital, a real estate developer, and angel investors. East Ventures, an existing investor of uHoo, also participated in this round.
According to the US EPA, indoor air is two to five times worse than outdoor air but people spend up to 90% of their time indoors. uHoo monitors the most number of air quality factors in one device and provides data, insights and recommendations on how to improve it -- all in real time.
The uHoo device is the size of a coffee mug and works together with the uHoo mobile app and web dashboard. Property managers can then take control of the air the building occupants breathe.
"There are significant issues in workplace health and wellbeing resulting in healthcare costs going up and productivity going down, which affect every company's bottom line. Majority of these is in the indoor environment where air quality is the most crucial component. You need the proper monitoring and management mechanisms in order to obtain insights and take appropriate action," said Dustin Onghanseng (pic, right), co-founder and CEO of uHoo.
Paul Santos, managing partner at Wavemaker added, "There is a management principle around what doesn't get measured, doesn't get done. Air quality is crucial to our health, well-being, and productivity but it is often overlooked.
“uHoo is attempting to provide the best air quality management solution, and it's amazing how, by simply providing better data, property managers can improve air quality in buildings resulting in 95% decrease in environment related complaints and 50% increase in productivity."
Research from the National Institutes of Health found that spending US$40 per person per year to improve air quality yielded a US$6,500 per person productivity gain and reduced illnesses.
In just 14 months in the market, uHoo is already used in offices, hospitals, schools and hotels and in multiple industries across more than 10 countries, including clients such as Ascendas, Schiphol airport, Linde, Ricola, Gammon and the government of the Netherlands, among others.
Facilities managers are using uHoo's enterprise dashboard and linking it to their building management systems to make building management smarter. uHoo has partnered with JLL and has deployed uHoo at District6 in Odeon Towers in Singapore.
"The air quality sensors were a boon to operational efficiency. We are now able to map the healthier rooms from the less healthy ones, and subsequently put measures in place to improve air quality. The general well-being of my members is directly impacted in a positive way," said Jethro Quek, founder and managing director of District6.
"As the early believer of the company, we think uHoo had successfully proven their ability to hit product market fit. We are proud to continue supporting uHoo's growth in achieving leadership in IoT space," Willson Cuaca, managing partner of East Ventures added.
In spite of being a Singapore company, the majority of its enterprise clients are in Europe, while its residential customers are mostly in the USA and Canada.
Its traction in Europe was also supported by an accelerator, World Startup Factory, which helped uHoo open up doors to the enterprise market and also setup an office in that region.
uHoo co-founders Dustin Jefferson S Onghanseng and Brian Lin created uHoo's first prototype in the dormitories during their MBA programme in Hong Kong.
"I have rhinitis, while Brian has asthma. When we were studying in Hong Kong, our allergies would often surface in the dormitories and the school building. We discovered it was due to the air we were breathing in indoors," Onghanseng shared.
When both founders discovered the cause of their frequent allergic attacks, they dove deep into research and found out that people around the world are suffering the same fate. They knew they had to find a way to solve the problem, not just to help themselves with their own allergies, but to help improve the lives of people from around the world.
The classmates eventually dropped their classes and incorporated uHoo with the goal of providing people with the means to understand the air they breathe. After three years of Research and Development (R&D), uHoo launched and started shipping its products to customers all over the world.
Each uHoo unit is available for both consumers and enterprise users at uHoo's website for US$329 and it ships globally. For Enterprise users, there is an annual subscription fee on top of purchasing the devices for enterprise capabilities.
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