David Solsky

In the past few weeks chief executive and co-founder of Envizi David Solsky has been quietly unveiling some serious changes to his business.

He’s restructured the team to hire some of the best talent in the business, including Lynden Clark, previously with Siemens (hired four months ago), Dave Martenson, ex-Energetics (five months) and Chris King, ex-Bosch and GHD (two months), with a few more to come.

At the same time Solsky’s invested heavily in a new website, refined his strategy to focus on energy efficiency and created new corporate narratives that firmly suggest that energy efficiency is coming out of the basement and into the boardroom.

The messages he’s telling the world are positive, sassy and as close to sexy as he can make them. Energy savings as nerdy-cool aspirational stuff, a bit Silicon Valley, when the world decided that a blend of software, data, analytics… and money, was an intoxicating mix that everyone wanted a share of.

Now to capitalise on the investment he’s on a roadshow to London and the US to sign up partnership deals with big facility management companies to roll out the new capability and new software.

Speaking from London early on Tuesday morning Sydney time, Solsky said there was a new positive mood around.

After years of grappling with a negative political environment (at times outright hostile) it’s as if energy efficiency and climate action are now in from the cold. In some ways there was a 2009 feeling around.

“Now that everyone feels that the carbon agenda has being legitimised in Paris people have the confidence to invest,” he says.

“At the soft launch of our new product late last year, and what we’ve seen in the first weeks of this year, is a level of engagement from customers and prospective customers that we haven’t seen for a long time. It reminds me of 2009.

“Seeing them leaning over the table. It’s a full engagement. The last few years it’s been quite depressing to get people engaged.

“This might not necessarily lead to revenue coming out of the sky but [former prime minister] Tony Abbott was absolutely killing the agenda.

“Malcolm has probably restored some faith. Between him and [COP21 in] Paris there is a different mindset and it’s resonated in a lots of people’s ears. It means we’re making a difference and starting to have an impact.”

What’s palpable, he says, is that there is a momentum for change “on the agenda for the longer term and that what we are doing will get commitment from government”.

Energy efficiency has become confusing for many people, Solsky thinks.

“You need to draw people up to a bit of a higher level and give them a bird’s eye view and, from our perspective, a bit of insight.

“We made the decision in late 2013 that we were going to focus heavily on energy again and while as a company we are still very committed to sustainability and carbon reporting and that cause, at the end of the day we recognised our strength from a technical perspective was born out of the energy sector and we wanted to get back to out roots in energy management.”

While carbon reporting for industry is important for corporates to make a difference “they’ve got to fundamentally manage their energy”, he says.

The UK angle and partnerships

Before heading to the UK Solsky spoke to Energy Action’s Paul Bannister about his findings in London after Bannister went to London to advise on the opportunities for expanding the NABERS energy system to the UK.

See our article here, where Bannister notes the difficulties of serious energy efficiency incursions in the UK.

Bannister’s new company, Energy Action, the listed entity which purchased his business Exergy in March 2014, will be one of Envizi’s new partners. Cushman and Wakefield is also on board, and he expects to sign two or three more in the UK before heading to the states.

“The large facilities management firms are looking to build out new management programs for their customers and looking at how technology can play a much larger part in making their service offerings more powerful – such as with data analytics and bigger insights. And they’re looking at providing more tools for this.”

We can only hope he’s right. But then all the indicators are flashing green right now. Globally and locally. And in both sense of “green”.