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#StartingUpWith: Qi Square

In this edition of #StartingUpWith, we have Nilesh Y. Jadhav, Co-Founder and CEO of Qi Square Pte Ltd. Qi Square started off as a spin-off company from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, and has since gathered a number of accolades under its belt – last year, it emerged as the winner of the EcoLabs Special Award at the PowerAce Pitching Competition 2019, and this year, it was recognised by Energy CIO Insights magazine as one of the Top 10 emerging tech solution providers in APAC. Read on to find out more about this up-and-coming energy startup.

  1. What is the story behind your startup?
    • Qi Square is a spin-off company from NTU, where I spent 8 years as a Senior Scientist and Program Director of the EcoCampus initiative at NTU. I was working on a large testbed program for clean energy technologies at EcoCampus, and technologies were implemented on the NTU campus buildings to achieve energy savings. After implementation, the technologies’ usefulness and applicability in different buildings had to be assessed with digital tools, such as multi-physics modelling and simulation methodology. The idea to set up Qi Square came about after we realised that this methodology could be commercially viable. The methodology was soon licensed as a Virtual Audit tool for commercial buildings and has proven to enable time and cost reduction in building energy audits by a factor-10.
  2. What was the biggest challenge faced by your startup, and how was it resolved?
    • The biggest challenge was to detach from NTU as a spin-off company and be fully independent. Researchers and professors tend to stick to their jobs at Universities while having a great innovation on hand. The challenge is to get the innovation off the ground and commercially implement it with a focused determination to grow the business. The common risks associated with a new venture are its financial viability and market acceptance. Qi Square balanced this risk by establishing lead customers and raising seed-funding from investors simultaneously. The funds were then utilised effectively to develop the business and grow its product offering through support from government grants.
  3. What was your startup’s proudest moment?
    • Qi Square’s proudest moments are when we acquire high profile customers from both within and outside Singapore.
  4. What is your collaboration with EcoLabs about?
    • Our collaboration with EcoLabs enables resource extension, and also provides us with leverage with access to market and investment opportunities.
  5. Where do you see your startup in 1/2/3 years’ time, and what part can EcoLabs play in this?
    • In 1 years’ time, Qi Square will be a key player in digitising the built environment ecosystem and developing scalable solutions that add value to the industry stakeholders. EcoLabs can play a part in this by serving as a hub for co-developing innovative solutions and implementing them through testbeds with demand drivers.
  6. Describe your startup in one word.
    • Digital. We are all about developing and leveraging on digital tools and technologies to add unprecedented value in the market place. Going digital is every industry’s future!