SpaceAge Labs raises $1.25m to improve cities

  • March 14, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

IoT start-up SpaceAge Labs has raised US$1.25m in seed funding to help make cities cleaner, greener and safer.

The Singapore-based company plans to launch pilot projects in the water and landscaping sectors across Singapore, Australia and the USA to demonstrate benefits of its IoT and AI technology.

“Growing populations, increased urbanisation, rising labour costs, lack of skilled workers, high safety standards and social distancing stipulations – various factors have been coming together resulting in the strong need for remote monitoring and IoT and AI,” said Deepak Pitta, CEO of SpaceAge Labs. “This is why we set up SpaceAge Labs, to help governments and corporations improve the way they are managing their widespread assets for improved efficiency, reliability and safety.”

It has secured seed funding of $1.25m, led by Silicon Solution Partners (SSP), a VC firm supporting deep tech start-ups, and Seeds Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore. SpaceAge Labs is also supported by NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS), water innovation accelerator Imagine H2O, and PUB’s Singapore Water Exchange.

Planetspark, a wholly owned subsidiary of SGX mainboard listed Excelpoint Technology, is also a partner working with SpaceAge Labs to help accelerate the technology alongside joining the round as an investor.

The start-up says it will use this funding to grow its team, expand internationally, and roll out several pilot projects across Singapore, Australia and the USA.

SpaceAge Labs is a deep tech start-up that was incubated at NUS Enterprise at Singapore Science Park. It is changing operations and maintenance of remote and distributed assets by collecting asset data using low power, long-range wireless IoT devices, together with AI software to generate insights from these data. This increases the asset’s uptime due to data-driven predictive maintenance, reduces cost as less manpower is required, and provides operators with real-time asset visibility.

The company’s flagship product is RemoteEye, a sensor-agnostic IoT and AI platform that enables connected operations and maintenance. RemoteEye consists of three parts:

  • REye IoT nodes: These are low-powered, wireless devices that read and transmit data from industrial sensors located at the assets.
  • Wireless networks: The sensor data are transmitted via low power wide area wireless networks to the cloud. The networks are at low cost, from S$1 per month per device, able to transmit over several kilometres, and consume low power with up to five years of battery life.
  • REye data cloud: Enterprise-grade IoT and AI software that stores, analyses and visualises these sensor data. This software is secure, easy to use and able to scale from managing one asset to thousands of assets. Proprietary AI software and geospatial data analysis provides insights and predictions that can be accessed via web or mobile.

While RemoteEye can be applied in various sectors, SpaceAge Labs is initially targeting three sectors: water and wastewater; urban greenery and landscaping; and facilities management.

The start-up has IoT deployments with more than 30 users, including two key smart nation pilot projects in Singapore, working with National Parks Board to digitalise grass-cutting operations to improve contractor efficiencies, and secondly helping the Public Utilities Board (PUB) to monitor for manhole overflow events in Singapore’s wastewater network.

SpaceAge Labs says will continue to embark on pilots to demonstrate the benefits of RemoteEye, as well as to find more customers and partners. In the first half of 2022, it will conduct pilots with landscaping companies in Australia to help improve efficiencies of grass-cutting work in Brisbane and Sydney. If these are successful, it could lead to nationwide deployments.

Similar landscaping pilots will be conducted in the USA later in 2022.

In Singapore, it plans to conduct several pilots that will monitor water consumption patterns and detect leaks in facilities, monitor weather and air quality in outdoor spaces, monitor water quality in swimming pools and water play areas, and monitor remote mechanical and electrical equipment, such as decentralised water treatment skids and water tankers.

“We hope to conduct more pilot trials with companies and governments, to showcase how RemoteEye results in benefits including cost savings, improved safety and hygiene levels, improved performance and reduced reliance on manpower,” said Pitta. “In order to do so, we will need to increase our headcount and expand internationally. Currently, our team consists of 12 people, mainly in Singapore, though one of our co-founders has moved to Australia to supervise the pilots there. Over the next six to twelve months, we plan to double our headcount, requiring people in product development and sales and marketing functions. We also hope to open international offices in Australia and the USA in order to reach our target audience better.”

Pitta founded SpaceAge Labs in 2016, along with co-founders Ananth Subba, chief technology officer, Leela Krishna, chief business officer, and Sashikumar Y, chief product officer. The company was originally a consulting company, designing end-to-end IoT for its customers, but pivoted in 2017 to become a product company.