RADAR – Our selection of innovative businesses #64

French startup Neoplants raises $20 million to turn houseplants into air purifiers. Finnish building energy efficiency specialists Caverion receive buyout bid for nearly €1bn. British startup Sensat raises $20.5 million to build digital twins for infrastructure companies.

French startup Neoplants raises $20 million to turn houseplants into air purifiers

Neoplants, a French startup that designs biotech indoor plants, has just raised $20 million. True Ventures, Heartcore, Collaborative Fund and Entrepreneur First all took part in the funding round, which will go towards financing the company’s research and development, as well as the commercial launch of its first product, the Neo P1.

The startup claims that its plant will be able to clean ambient air as effectively as 30 standard houseplants. This is done by modifying the plants at the DNA level, allowing it to produce new enzymes that can metabolise air pollutants.

The modified plant specifically targets a group of indoor air pollutants that traditional air purifiers are unable to capture effectively. These are called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), such as formaldehyde, benzene, toluene and xylene. These pollutants are present in outdoor air, but are also emitted when using cleaning products indoors. Materials used in construction, such as paints and flooring, are also sources of VOCs.

After four years of research, Neoplants is looking to open pre-orders for Neo P1 in the first quarter of 2023. The plant will be sold for $179, with three months of microbiome-enhanced soil in the base – as the plant needs bacteria to fight pollution. The startup then hopes to be able to use the same processes with other types of plants and other properties, working on carbon capture and storage.

Finnish building energy efficiency specialists Caverion receive buyout bid for nearly €1bn

In November, the Finnish group Caverion received a takeover bid of €955 million euros from a consortium of four companies, including Bain Capital and three Finnish companies.

Created following a demerger of the construction giant YIT Group in 2013, the listed company specialises in constructing, operating and maintaining smart and energy-efficient technological solutions for buildings, infrastructure and industry. While mainly present in Scandinavia and Germany, Caverion has 14,000 employees and is divided into two business units: Services (66% of revenues in 2021) and Projects (34%).

As well as offering property management solutions, Caverion also creates connected solutions and tools based on artificial intelligence to facilitate building management, limit energy consumption and reduce CO2 emissions. This buyout bid offers shareholders a premium of more than 49% compared to the pre-acquisition share price, demonstrating investors’ interest in this booming sector.

British startup Sensat raises $20.5 million to  build digital twins for infrastructure companies

During its Series B, the London-based startup Sensat raised $20.5 million from National Grid Partners (NGP), the investment arm of British energy giant National Grid. So far, Sensat has raised around $15m in funding, including a $10m Series A round in 2019 that was led by Chinese giant Tencent.

Founded in 2015, Sensat develops “digital twin” solutions for the construction, mining or energy sectors. Their goal? To digitally reproduce physical infrastructures to facilitate their construction, management and maintenance. These tools help companies better plan and manage major infrastructure projects, assess risk, predict outcomes and optimise efficiency before construction work begins.

The digital twins are built using data from physical sensors attached to infrastructure or to construction workers’ equipment, to satellites, lidars and drones, as well as from publicly available datasets, such as road traffic. Since the solution’s commercial launch in summer 2021, the company has been deployed on infrastructure projects worth more than $150 billion.

Sensat intends to use the funds to double down on investments in infrastructure projects, particularly in the energy, telecommunications and rail sectors. National Grid’s presence and experience in the US market will also be useful to the startup, as it looks to expand its business across the Atlantic.

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The VINCI Group created Leonard to tackle the challenges posed by the transformation of regions and lifestyles. Our goal is to unite a community of key stakeholders in order to build the city of the future together.