5 min read

#57: A matter of time (and money and guts)

Plus: Blockchain, WTF is IBEMS?, a new Climate Impact Fund, a new podcast, and introducing a new deep-dive series for Pro members
“There's nothing that is stopping you. All the technology's there. The knowledge is there. It's a matter of time and money and guts. I mean, Elon Musk is going to Mars. Don't tell me that we cannot do this in a building...”

—Erik Ubels' insights from The Edge on Nexus Podcast Episode 32

Good morning!

Welcome to Nexus, a newsletter, podcast, and membership community for smart people applying smart building technology—written by James Dice. If you’re new to Nexus, you might want to start here.

Here’s an outline of this week’s newsletter:

  1. 🤔  On my mind this week: a new monthly series
  2. 📚  What I’m reading: Blockchain for Real Estate, WTF is IBEMS?, a new Climate Impact Fund
  3. 💡  New from Nexus: a new podcast and introducing a new deep-dive series for Pro members
  4. 🧐  New to me: Infogrid
  5. 🧱  Foundations: who’s in the smart buildings community?


1. 🤔 On my mind this week

This week, I’m excited to begin a new monthly deep-dive series for Nexus Pro members called The Lens, where I’ll unpack the strategy behind the news in as few bullet points as possible.

This month, we’re taking a look at three recent news items that I think everyone (including me) should understand a little bit more deeply:

  1. SkyFoundry Releases New Arc App
  2. Facilio and Belimo form a collaboration
  3. Steve Wozniak’s new startup Efforce makes a big f*cking splash

For each story, I broke down what happened, why it happened, and the context around it.

Dig in

2. 📚 What I’m reading


Intelligent Building Energy Management Systems (Executive Summary)—I was interviewed for this report on building analytics software prepared for CABA by Harbor Research.

I’m glad to see in the (free) executive summary that it includes core concepts from this site, but must say I’m disappointed to see another fluffy acronym. Hopefully, the forthcoming full report clears up some of the inevitable “WTF is IBEMS?” confusion.


Blockchain for Real Estate and Beyond—In this oldie-but-goodie, Justin Segal of Boxer Property speaks about Blockchain and how Real Estate may be impacted, including what is already happening now. While the use cases he discusses are mostly focused on business processes, it still provides a solid intro for anyone that hasn’t dug into blockchain, where it plays, and what the barriers are.

If you’re a maintenance engineer and your job is to go to a property and check the fan balancing and you know that the results of your balancing are going to be recorded and viewable and verifiable in the future, it changes the understand of accountability. And that cultural change has much bigger impacts…


Why I Believe Fifth Wall’s Consortium Might Be Key to Solving One of the World’s Biggest Problems—Making the case for why climate tech is the next big venture capital opportunity and announcing a new Climate Impact Fund that is sure to invest in our space.

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So, just to be pedantic — let’s run it through the VC 101 framework:
  1. Find a large market: Is $9 trillion to $58 trillion of annual market large enough?
  2. That is being forced to change or transform by some new factor: That is being forced by all of its stakeholders (regulators, their customers, and their investors) to decarbonize.
  3. Invest in the companies best positioned to capitalize on that change: …let’s go hunting for some startups.

This installment of NEXUS is free for everyone. If you would like to get full access to all content, join the NEXUS Pro community. Members get exclusive access to the Nexus Vendor Landscape, monthly events, weekly deep dives, and all past deep dives.

Join NEXUS Pro

3. 💡 New from NEXUS

4. 🧐 New to me

Even though the Nexus Vendor Landscape has 150+ vendors on it, I still learn about new companies/products to track every week.

Here is this week’s discovery:

Infogrid—Analytics firm that just raised a Series A round of $15M backed by JLL Spark and others. It’s unclear how they’re special compared to the 60+ analytics firms on the Landscape, but they seem to be talking more about refrigerated retail applications.

H/t to my friend Joe Aamidor for his monthly newsletter, which provided this and many other great links.

5. 🧱 Foundations

“My favorite part of the Nexus Foundations course was hearing from classmates on the issues they deal with day to day.”

Today I want to tell you about the smart buildings community.

We’re building occupants, building owners, business managers, building operators, and IT professionals.

We’re architects, design engineers, specialty consultants, install contractors, product manufacturers, product distributors, commissioning agents, and software companies.

We’re 3rd party facility/asset managers, utility providers, utility program managers, sustainability professionals, energy engineers, and many more.

Whew, that’s a lot of people. In the Foundations course, we refer to these humans as our stakeholders.

I believe the #1 roadblock for smart building success is not fully understanding and engaging each building’s unique ecosystem of stakeholders.

In the course, we explore the ecosystem in two ways:

  • A framework and exercise for identifying and understanding the key stakeholders in our projects
  • Connecting with peers in live workshops on Zoom and via chats on Slack

Graduates not only understand how to see the whole picture of humans, but they also have new connections with fellow classmates. Here’s what Cohort 1 alums had to say about the people they met in the course:

“Connecting to peers via Zoom was +100.”

“The #1 reason to join is access to an (international) community of like-minded peers.”

“I had unrivaled exposure to others in the industry and loved talking about how they think about designing and selling solutions.”

“I liked the breakout rooms the most. It's always good to have group activities and get people (myself included) talking.”

With all the students that took advantage of early bird pricing in December, we’re now at 25% capacity for cohort #2, which starts in late February. If you’re interested, enroll soon to claim your spot in the group.

Enroll in cohort 2

OK, that’s all for this week—thanks for reading Nexus!