A Lanarkshire-based ‘internet of things’ (IOT) startup has won a contract to supply a prominent property firm with technology that it is reckoned will help make buildings across the UK more sustainable. Utopi has been appointed by build-to-rent specialist Moda Living to provide an operating system that will help it maximize the energy efficiency of the apartment blocks in its portfolio. This is set to include big developments in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
“Our partnership with Utopi delivers a better user experience for residents, has a positive impact on the environment and by making our buildings cost less to operate, the value of our portfolio increases long term,” said Moda director Oscar Brooks. The value of the contract was not disclosed. However, the award looks to be a coup for Hamilton-based Utopi, which is led by Scottish technology sector heavy hitters. Utopi’s chief operating officer, John Trower, was a founding manager in Scottish Telecom, which developed into Thus. The company’s chief technology officer Falk Bleyl previously held the same role at the Glasgow-based Boston Networks IT business.
Utopi’s chief executive Jonathan Burridge worked at Boston Networks after holding senior positions at outsourcing specialist Capita. Moda opened the 35-storey, 466- home Angel Gardens development in Manchester in October. It has started work on developments in Liverpool and Leeds. The company plans to build the 476-home Springside development in Edinburgh’s Fountainbridge area.
Springside will be funded by Apache Capital and the Harrison Street Investment business. Apache chief executive John Dunkerley said in April that there was a fundamental mismatch between supply and demand for high quality purpose-built rental housing in the UK. Moda and Apache joined forces to acquire the former Strathclyde Police headquarters in Glasgow in 2016. Moda plans to develop the 433-home Holland Park complex on the site. It reckons this will be home to around 1,000 people. Springside and Holland Park are expected to feature shops, bars and restaurants as well as housing.
Moda said Utopi’s software will use feedback from sensors installed in its properties to help automate building management.