Christopher von Gumppenberg and Leopold Kuttner met in 2005 in Wien, where they both studied industrial engineering at the Vienna University of Technology. They instantly noticed something that they both had in common – thousands of ideas and eager to implement them. Little did they know that 10 years later one of these ideas will turn into a successful submetering startup.
Submetering is a system that allows a landlord, property management firm, homeowners association, or other multi-tenant property manager to bill tenants based on their individual consumption. It helps customers understand how their behavior drives energy costs, and motivates change, which often results in less energy consumed. In turn, landlords and property managers can mitigate their exposure to frequent utility rate increases and unpredictable residential use – savings that can be passed onto building residents.
Although submetering has been introduced to the market in 1970s already, most of the property managers have outsourced this service to specialized service providers. “Lack of attention to the submetering business has resulted in manual and paper-based processes and therefore high failure rates and long lead times,” Christopher von Gumppenberg, CEO of KUGU explains. “The lack of competition has also led to a low service level with many dissatisfied customers. All of this has made property managers look for alternatives.”
KUGU provides software platform and hardware solution that enables its customers to handle submetering services themselves. With its data collector, KUGU collects hardware independent data from any radio meter, sensor or smoke detector in the building and transfer the data automatically to the cloud. In their web-portal KUGU bundles the consumption data with the tenant information and makes all relevant billing and management processes available. The collected data is also accessible for the tenants and service providers via an app. This way tenants get access to their consumption data and energy bills, while service providers are enabled to manage their buildings more efficiently.
Earlier this month KUGU has started a joint pilot with E.DIS. Together, they are serving 3.000 apartments of Hennigsdorf Housing Association (WBH) in Branderburg. "Our customers like Hennigsdorf Housing Association can reduce operating costs and gain additional revenue with the digital billing process , which is transparent, safe and available at any given time," says Alexander Türk, Business Developer at E.DIS. "KUGU technology and process leads to significant time savings as well as reduction of personnel expenses compared to conventional reading of the submetering devices."
“Since we started working with E.DIS, we have highly valued their great communication and commitment to our cooperation," Christopher von Gumppenberg explains. "In the joint pilot project we are taking care of the data collection and billing service, while E.DIS is the interface to the customer and the Stadtwerke Hennigsdorf, our local cooperation partner for this project. The pilot project is coming in the right moment to prove our technological capabilities to a real customer and establish references and awareness in the market."
With this pilot KUGU and E.DIS seeks to test submetering offering with a real customer. The pilot runs in a building that has 249 heat cost allocators, 48 warm water and 48 cold water meters and 2 heat meters. It is planned for 6 months, which will allow to perform billing for different time periods. After the pilot KUGU hopes to be a part of the official WBH submetering tender in 2020 and sign a frame contract in 2020 for the majority of their apartments.