UCD spin-out Wattics nominated for R&D award

27 Jan 2012

From left: members of the NovaUCD-based Wattics team: Seamus Porter, sales director; Dr Antonio Ruzzelli, CEO; Anthony Schoofs, CTO; and Alex Sintoni, head of engineering

Wattics, a University College Dublin spin-out, is tapping into the need for businesses to become more energy efficient in these lean economic times. The start-up, which is aiming to be a game changer in the energy-management sector, has developed a smart metering solution to help firms manage their energy data and reduce the charges on their electricity bills.

Based at NovaUCD, Wattics has also just been announced as a finalist in the 2012 Irish Times InterTradeIreland Innovation Awards. The company has been shortlisted in the Innovation in the Application of R&D category along with Cellix and X-Bolt Orthopaedics.

Founded by Dr Antonio Ruzzelli, Anthony Schoofs and Alex Sintoni as a spin-out from UCD’s School of Computer Science and Informatics and the CLARITY Centre for Web Sensor Technologies, Wattics is currently fundraising and is also planning to employ between 15 and 25 people within the next two to three years. The company has been self-funded to date.

Schoofs already came under the global innovation radar in 2011 when he won the Globe Sustainability Research Award 2011 in recognition of his contribution to sustainability research via his PhD, which focused on appliance load monitoring systems for commercial and office buildings.

Ruzzelli, Schoofs and Sintoni have created a software solution targeted at businesses so they can manage their energy consumption via a single metering sensor ‘clipped’ onto a main electricity switchboard.

The trio says the system provides businesses with insights into their energy usage down to an individual appliance or machine level.

Using the data, businesses can identify energy inefficiencies and take action to significantly reduce the charges on their electricity bills, said Ruzzelli.

Already the company has gleaned such clients as Jurys Hotel Group, KPMG, the Office of Public Works, Norfish Ltd and Mandat International in Geneva.

Speaking about being nominated for the Irish Times InterTradeIreland Innovation Awards, Ruzzelli said it was a validation of the hard work and dedication of everyone associated with the setting up of Wattics.

Plans to take the system global

He said he felt Wattics is a “game changer” in the energy-management market. Now the team has ambitious plans to roll the system out globally.

Ruzzelli added that the system requires no complex retrofitting, no appliance sub-metering and no wiring.

Last year, Celtic Catalysts, the UCD life-sciences spin-out company, was the overall winner of the Application of R&D Category at the Irish Times InterTradeIreland Innovation Awards.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic