The latest investment by CEZ Group’s Inven Capital fund is the Israeli start-up WINT. It focuses on using artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics for efficient water management in commercial and residential buildings, industrial facilities, and construction sites. Its smart solutions are used by more than 300 companies, mainly in the US, UK, and Israel. Clients include renowned companies and brands such as Microsoft, PepsiCo, one of the biggest US construction companies Brasfield and Gorrie, Mastercard, HP, or the iconic Empire State Building.
WINT’s smart solutions can reduce water consumption in buildings by an average of 20 to 25 percent and prevent large losses through detection and active shutoff of leaks. The key is to collect large amounts of data and analyze them in detail. On this basis, AI creates an overview of standard water consumption patterns in each location. The system combines data from various specific algorithms (e.g., ‘standard’ domestic water, hot and cold-water circuits, cooling towers, irrigation, etc.), monitors any anomalies, which it reports immediately, shuts water off when applicable and helps identify areas with the greatest savings potential. For example, WINT was able to save over 274 million liters of water annually at the Empire State Building, saving 100 000 USD per year.
“Besides reducing emissions, water consumption is another priority area that Europe, the United States, and other countries are addressing intensively in the context of climate change. Water is a crucial raw material in the energy sector, without which electricity and heat cannot be produced. This is one of the reasons why we have joined the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate. We also believe that the use of artificial intelligence will play a key role in solving this pressing issue, which is why after careful consideration we have decided to invest in WINT,” says Tomáš Pleskač, Member of the Board of Directors and Director of the New Energy Division.
Drinking water in particular - its extraction, chemical treatment, distribution to customers and subsequent treatment at plants - is also quite emissions-intensive. According to WINT statistics, between 7 and 15 kg of CO2 emissions are attributable to the production of one cubic meter of drinking water. Hence, conserving water automatically means reducing emissions. More and more international companies are therefore setting ambitious targets for sustainable water management.
“We are closing this round at a time when water scarcity and climate change are becoming one of humanity's greatest challenges, while the cost of damage caused by unnecessary water leaks in buildings is reaching unacceptable levels from the perspective of insurers, owners, developers, and contractors alike," says Alon Geva, CEO of WINT. “We are excited about the opportunity to work with Inven and other leading global investors in real estate and climate technology and we are confident that their support and industry depth will help us solve these enormous challenges for the world’s built-up environment," he adds.
“Preventing accidents, reducing waste, and using water more efficiently is a huge challenge. Yet there are not too many players in the current market that offer comprehensive solutions suitable for various types of clients, be those construction companies, property developers, industrial clients, or commercial and residential facility managers. We are impressed by WINT's approach and vision, and look forward to working with them," says Michal Mravec of Inven Capital.
WINT intends to use the funds raised in the latest investment round led by Inven Capital mainly for further international expansion and development of its unique technology. In addition to venture capital funds, other global construction and real estate companies have also invested in the start-up. In last year's round of investment, WINT raised approximately $15 million from investors.
Water at CEZ
Efficient water management is one of CEZ Group’s sustainable development priorities. It was the first Czech company to join the United Nations Global Compact CEO Water Mandate. It has committed to implementing effective water management measures and sharing good practice in reducing water consumption and conservation.
Over the last ten years, CEZ has reduced drinking water consumption at its conventional power plants by two thirds. CEZ also manages to conserve drinking water at its administrative buildings, of which it has more than a hundred across the country. Last year, once people had returned fully to their offices after the Covid pandemic, savings amounted to about 13,000 cubic meters, or almost 20%, compared to 2019. Moreover, CEZ is investing hundreds of millions of crowns in modernizing its hydroelectric power plants, so they can produce more electricity from less water.
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INVEN CAPITAL is the CEZ Group’s venture capital fund. Its strategy is to seek out investment opportunities in innovative and fast-growing cleantech startups, with a focus on CO2 footprint reduction. They primarily target later-stage growth investment opportunities with a sound business model based on realized revenues and long-term growth potential. The fund is a member of Invest Europe (European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association) and CVCA (Czech Private Equity and Venture Capital Association). Since 2015, INVEN CAPITAL has invested in a total of 16 companies and has made successful full or partial exits from five of them. For more information, visit www.invencapital.cz.
WINT is dedicated to helping businesses reduce their environmental footprint by preventing the hazards, costs, waste, and environmental impact associated with water leaks and waste. Utilizing the power of artificial intelligence and IoT technology, WINT provides a solution for commercial facilities, construction sites and industrial manufacturers looking to cut water waste, reduce carbon emissions and eliminate the impact of water-leak disasters. WINT has been recognized by Fast Company and CB Insights as one of the world’s most innovative AI companies and has won multiple awards including “Next Big things in Tech” and Insurance Times’ claims prevention technology award. It was also listed at the top 30% of Inc 5000 – the fastest growing companies in America in 2022. For more information about WINT, visit https://wint.ai.