Erik Fossum Færevaag Raoul Wijgergangs Disruptive Technologies
Founder Erik Fossum Færevaag, left, with new CEO Raoul Wijgergangs

Disruptive Tech replaces CEO as ‘radical growth’ phase begins

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Paul Unger

Erik Fossum Færevaag, founder and CEO of Disruptive Technologies, the building sensor maker now shipping 20,000 units a month, has handed over leadership of the company to Raoul Wijgergangs, a veteran of smart home IoT.

Wijgergangs is the former vice president and general manager of the IoT consumer unit at Silicon Labs, headquartered in Austin, Texas. He spent 14 years building smart home protocol Z-Wave through to sale for $240m to Silicon Labs last year.

Færevaag said: “Raoul has a history of strong performance in IoT. He pioneered the smart-home market, building not only a company but an industry. His vision for how we can develop our business and how our technology solution will be experienced by our partner and customer ecosystem is exactly what we need as we enter this next chapter of growth.”

DT described Wijgergangs as “a business developer with global impact”. His career has taken him to Netherlands, Johannesburg, Silicon Valley, New Jersey, and Copenhagen. He has now moved to Norway to begin his next chapter.

Disruptive Technologies Window With Sensor

Wijgergangs said: “I enjoy the process of creation. Building new companies or even better pioneering industries. Working with global teams and partners to define and deliver on a common strategy is one of the most fulfilling senses of accomplishment one can get. Disruptive Technologies is at a pivottable junction where it has the opportunity to provide its unique IoT solution to organisations in many industries, allowing people and companies to make better decisions about their assets and business processes. These better decisions will lead to less time wasted, less materials used and fewer interruptions in companies’ processes – in other words, more sustainable operations. There is no country in the world where such movement can be better led than from Norway, one of the most sustainable countries in the world. I am very excited to have moved to Norway now to start learning the culture of another inspiring country.”

Raoul worked at Philips for 10 years. He holds an engineering in computer science degree and an MBA from the University of Twente in the Netherlands.

DT is currently finalising a series B investment round, where Nysnø Climates Investment Fund, the Norwegian Governmental Fund, have joined alongside existing investors. The company is valued at MNOK860, around £77m.

Færevaag will continue with the company focusing on “securing long-term competitiveness”, and remain on the board of directors. He said: “We have built a sensor-to-cloud solution with endless possibilities and limitless scale, now it is about maximising the potential.”

DT has experienced a substantial increase in demand for its products. The company is collecting 3m data points daily.

The product range currently includes three sensors for temperature, proximity and touch. More sensor types are being prototyped.

Marian Kost, chief sales officer of DT, said: “We achieved the full CE certification, which allows us to sell commercially in Europe, in late Q3, early Q4 last year. Since then, we have been working with about 200 companies, but we restricted ourselves to those companies to make sure that we get to the level of quality in the field and we monitor the sensors and make sure nothing breaks down.”

This trial period lasted until March, Kost said, during which time the stability of the sensors went “really well.”

The four market applications are:

  • Real estate, account for 50% of DT business, monitoring for technical maintenance of heating, energy efficiency, legionella in pipes, and other uses
  • Healthcare, deployed by the NHS in the UK in more than 100 hospitals to monitor vaccine fridges, traditionally a manual check
  • Retail, cooling of goods in retail is a big cost and can be inefficient when fridge doors are left open. Both can be monitored by sensors
  • Utilities in manufacturing to make sure optimum amount of energy in a process is being used, and measure the effectiveness of the energy grid in transformers, cables, fuses, load balancing

Production ramped up to 20,000 a month in March and, Kost said, the company expects to “ship several hundred thousand [units] in 2019”.

The scaling strategy involves building up a partner network. DT is already working with Siemens, Deutsche Telekom, ISS, Thing Technologies among others.

A starter pack of 100 sensors, five base stations and 12 months of full data service including cellular link, software development platform and cloud platform costs €5,000 and can be ordered through the company’s website.

Kost said: “Once the pilot is successful, typically we engage on volume orders. Volume order typically starts with 1,000 units and at 1,000 units we are looking at a price of €24 per sensor, which is €2 per sensor, per month to get full data coverage with everything included. That drops down to as low as $1 per sensor, per month in high volume.”

DT is also seeking regulatory approval to sell in the US.

The company established in 2013 and have 45 employees in offices in Bergen, Oslo, Trondheim, Volda, London, Paris, and Munich. The company’s main office is in Kokstad in Bergen. Major shareholders are Ubon Partners, Føysli, Firda, Ferd, TD Veen, Norselab and Nysnø.

“The team has built a revolutionary sensor-to-cloud solution and taken it to market. Now it’s time to commercialise it and aim for radical growth. That’s what we have hired Raoul Wijgergangs to do”, says chairman OJ Winge.

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