About Optimus GmbH
- Founders: Dominik Petzen (CEO, Fabian Pitscheider (CPO), Felix Maximilian Hoffer (CTO)
- Founded in: 2021
- Employees: 3 MitarbeiterInnen and 2 Freelancers
- Funds raised: Various grants in Austria
- End goal: A revolution in the construction industry and an easier path to climate-neutral buildings
If the EU is to achieve its climate targets, buildings must also become more sustainable. One aspect that has been largely neglected so far is the techniques used in a building. Fabian Pitscheider, Dominik Pezzei and Felix M. Hoffer want to change that with their start-up Optimuse. The three have developed software with which they can provide insight into and automate the complex planning situation. In this episode of today’s startup, CEO Dominik talks about the innovation and challenges of starting up.
What problem are you solving?
“Buildings are responsible for 36 percent of CO2emissions and 40 percent of energy consumption in Europe. This is not least due to the insufficiently digitized construction sector. We want to contribute to a resource-saving and low-emission construction sector and support it in the application of sustainability criteria. Because if you want to utilize the sustainable potential in planning and reduce buildings’ energy consumption, then knowledge from different areas is necessary. Knowledge that one person alone cannot have. This can lead to poor quality or even errors.”
“As a team, we bring in the crucial knowledge and combine in-depth knowledge of architecture, building technology and economics. This allows us to include all relevant factors in our software. Optimuse is based on artificial intelligence and makes it possible to compare different design options for a building’s technical equipment. This creates transparency at a very early stage of construction planning. When generating and optimizing the possible concepts, certification and customer-specific requirements are also taken into account and compared.”
How far are you with research and development?
“The building’s technical equipment is complex. We started with the area of fire protection, security systems and camera systems. We are currently testing the first solution we developed with major planning agencies to fine-tune the final details. Then we move on to the digitization of heating, air conditioning and ventilation, the so-called top class in technical building materials.”
What does this mean for the construction sector?
“Architects upload their plan to our platform and receive various options for optimal planning within minutes. Until now, this process has taken weeks or even months. This entails a change in the role of the architects, who then only have to assess Optimus’ proposals and then make minor adjustments if necessary.
The evaluation raises questions such as: What is the best option to save material, optimize costs or transport the air better. Aspects that have not been studied in detail so far due to time and cost, but which affect the comfort, energy consumption and sustainability of the building.”
What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
“The slow digitization and outdated structures and processes in the construction industry in the German-speaking areas can be very frustrating. There is hardly any will to change ingrained and proven processes. In such an environment, stimulating innovation is a major challenge. In addition, the market is highly fragmented and consists mainly of small and medium-sized companies. Companies that often do not have the resources to invest in digitization. We are still validating the business model. There are also great opportunities to develop concepts within new cooling and ventilation of buildings.”
What are you most proud of?
“To see that you are creating innovation that is almost non-existent worldwide. We are one of three research groups worldwide that want to digitize technical construction. As a result, we also get good reactions to our presentations. I am convinced that we have developed a unique software that can really have a positive impact on the construction industry and climate change.
In our company, every milestone we reach is celebrated, which is always a great moment. Seeing how the team grows, how the cohesion between colleagues becomes stronger, and how each individual team member grows from himself, makes me very happy as a founder.”
How difficult was it to get funding?
“Until now, we have been supported by public research funds at national and European level. The public is increasingly aware of the climate issue and it is clear that action is needed. This makes it easier to fund our deep-tech startup.”
Where will you be in five years?
“We want to make it as easy as possible to design and build buildings sustainably. In the next five years, we will revolutionize the construction industry and enable climate-neutral buildings on a large scale.”
What are you better at than the existing solutions?
“Other software products only provide support tools, while we generate automated capabilities for engineering design. This enables us to automatically generate a large number of optimal planning alternatives in a very short time. In the automated planning, we take local legislation into account, and we strive to always integrate the EU taxonomy and ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) rules in our software.”