Veteran Honeywell engineer, Jay Schrankler, who once ran Honeywell's heating and cooling controls business, was one of our first investors in 2014. Jay now runs the University of Minnesota technology commercialization office. Read more in the Star Tribune article, Business heats up for Burnsville-based building control firm 75F.
Interview with Jay
What is your experience in the HVAC/automation/controls industry? I spent 26 years at Honeywell. Seven of those years were in the HVAC business. Specifically, I was the President of the business unit called Environmental Controls. This business made controls for buildings and homes to control HVAC systems. This meant Building Automation systems, Home Automation Systems, indoor air quality systems and gas controls. We had 7,000 employees around the globe and were installed in over 5 million buildings and 100 million homes. Today, those numbers are even bigger.
Do you have experience with energy efficiency? One key value proposition we were known for was saving energy for our customers. Not only did we sell many products and solutions for building owners and home owners to save energy, we also partnered with Honeywell's building solutions or service business in performance contracting. I have also done work for a new company called Thor Sustainability, which is a part of Thor Construction. I helped them develop their business plan in the energy saving and sustainability marketplace.
Why did you invest in 75F? I invested in 75F for a number of reasons. There has long been a need to economically and efficiently manage HVAC systems on a room-by-room basis. This is where you achieve the largest energy savings possible. However, past attempts at this have sacrificed comfort for energy savings. 75F has created the ultimate solution, and that is to provide maximum comfort while achieving maximum energy savings. They have a novel and very affordable solution to this vexing problem. I liked their innovative approach.
In addition, their approach to the market as I see it is optimum. Addressing the light commercial space is perfect. The largest square footage of commercial building space resides in light commercial, which is a large and underserved segment, and 75F has developed a perfectly affordable solution for it.
What is 75F doing that is groundbreaking and/or influential? 75F is doing many things that are groundbreaking. If I was to pick a couple of highlights it would be their approach to balancing air in the building, leading the wave of predictive analytics, and their attentive approach to customer satisfaction. They are on the forefront of the IoT revolution in the building space.
Why should a business or facility manager install 75F? Time and time again, employee and guest comfort have been shown as a primal need in the light commercial space. A system that solves the comfort problem once and for all while delivering incredible energy savings has never been done. We know that employee retention, engagement and wellbeing directly affect the bottom line of business.
Many facility managers also manage multiple locations. This is a tough situation for the time strapped manager. Having a solution from 75F with predictive analytics and automated reporting helps relieve the workload in a big way for these managers.
What is your favorite part about this company? I have to say its culture of innovation and attention to customer satisfaction. A winning combination!