By Meghan Hall
The commercial real estate sector is at a turning point in its evolution, where real estate-based tech has not just been infused into the many processes of industry professionals, but has become a new standard for operations. Many companies, such as Hatch Data, has evolved from earlier CRE-tech. According to Hatch Data’s co-founder and CEO Zach Robin, the industry is ready to accept CRE-tech at-scale, and Hatch Data, a smart-building platform, is ready to have a hand in commercial real estate’s evolution.
Please tell The Registry a little bit about Hatch Data. How did Hatch Data grow out of EnerNOC’s Energy Intelligence Software?
EnerNOC built the largest real-time energy monitoring network in North America. As part of the service, customers had visibility year-round into their buildings’ energy consumption. They could use the information to reduce unnecessary utility expenses and improve overall operational performance. Following EnerNOC’s acquisition by Enel, the company quickly recognized that the energy intelligence software business had a different operating rhythm than its other product lines and would benefit from increased autonomy and focus. That’s when we employees leapt at the chance to spin out the software division, and Hatch Data was born.
Why did the founders of Hatch decided to exclusively focus on the commercial real estate market?
Over the past 10 years, our team has supported customers across a range of industries and segments, from industrial manufacturing to higher education, healthcare to commercial real estate, and everything in between. We have seen that every building type can benefit from the increased visibility, analytics and workflows within a platform like ours.
Among the different sectors, commercial real estate is clearly at an inflection point and ready to adopt solutions like ours at scale. This is especially important as we seek to have the broadest impact possible. So we’ve focused Hatch Data on commercial buildings and on empowering operators of commercial buildings to do their best work. That said, we continue to serve other segments and will never turn anyone away who wants to use our software to improve their building operations.
What pain points in the industry does the platform seek to solve? Why?
Ownership and operations aren’t always working from the same page. Siloed data, missing data, and lack of a comprehensive inventory can stifle operational productivity.
Operators are being asked to take on more responsibility and are being inundated with more systems, data, and dashboards than they can reasonably manage on their own. Our software rationalizes and reconciles all these issues, addressing the pain points that owners and operators experience.
How does Hatch Data work? What types of metrics does the platform measure, and how does it measure asset performance?
Hatch Data software collects, organizes, and analyzes data streaming from commodity meters, sub-meters, building automation systems, work order platforms, market data, weather services, and other third-party systems to inform diagnostics, prediction, and response planning. The software’s insights are based on 10,000+ best practices and business rules designed into the Hatch Data platform and validated against more than 14 billion hours of operating data collected by the company over 10 years — the most comprehensive operational data set in the industry.
The software provides operators and owners with both a top-down set of indicators and benchmarks to assess relative performance as well as bottom-up granular recommendations to improve performance through operational changes, including low and no-cost measures.
Based on data that you have examined, what is your perception of the resiliency of new construction projects vs. existing CRE stock? Does existing stock have the potential to perform as well as new construction?
All buildings, new or old, exist on the same continuum: from design to construction to operation. Despite advances in building materials and more efficient components and systems, the industry still suffers from low rates of quality control (commissioning) to ensure that the original design intentions are realized once the keys are handed off to operations.
We’ve worked with brand new state-of-the-art buildings that performed well below their peers due to increased complexity, lack of proper training, and undocumented design changes during construction. We’ve also worked with aging building stock that’s so well managed it performs on par with new buildings.
The average existing building is 40 years or older and can experience 15-20% degradation in operating performance each year. We’ve witnessed first-hand the performance gains that can be delivered in existing building stock once operators have the right tools for the job. In our experience, building performance and asset values are less dictated by the age of the building than they are by the operational fitness and discipline demonstrated by the teams who run them.
Hatch Data makes it easy to extend the smart building benefits of improved efficiency, increased productivity, and optimized asset value to existing buildings by tapping into existing infrastructure and data sets.
What is your favorite feature of the Hatch Data platform? Why?
My favorite aspect of the software is its speed and simplicity. The software has been designed to reduce the time and effort needed to gauge performance, identify improvement strategies, and verify results. Unlike other solutions in the market that often lead to “analysis paralysis,” we recognize that operators, energy managers, and sustainability teams are usually short-staffed and crunched for time. The platform serves up tailored information to answer specific questions in a fraction of the time, allowing users to get in, get answers, and get on with their day.
Since its launch as EnerNoc, the company has secured more than 250 customers, including Beacon Capital Partners, Boston Properties, Hines and Unico. What strategies did Hatch employ to ensure the success of its platform for these customers?
We seek a consultative partnership approach with our customers to understand their objectives and customize a deployment strategy that can deliver results quickly and cost-effectively. Further, we play well with other vendors and teams and understand the importance of being part of our customers’ technology stack. To that end, data on the platform is open, extensible, and shareable across work-order management, ERP, accounting and asset investment management systems. Our goals and our customers’ goals are perfectly aligned.
What has been the market’s response to Hatch Data spinning out from EnerNOC?
The market response has been tremendous and it’s still early days. We have a lengthy track-record of success and are extremely grateful to our customers and partners who have come along with us on this next chapter.
What are the company’s goals for growth in 2020?
Our focus for 2020 will continue to be on exceeding the expectations of our customers, delivering new product capabilities, and expanding our reach. We are encouraged by the amount of activity we’re seeing from existing customers as well as the interest we’re getting from prospective new organizations. We are actively hiring across all areas of the business to support growth this year and beyond.