Trimble acquires Sefaira’s cloud analytics for building design

Feb 8, 2016 | Hot Topics

Trimble continues to build out its design capabilities, announcing today that it is acquiring Sefaira Ltd., which develops cloud-based analytical tools for the architectural market. Sefaira’s Architecture, Strategy and Systems modules enable designers using Autodesk’s Revit or Trimble’s SketchUp to carry out performance analyses from within their 3D modeling environments. It’s actually really cool. Sefaira interprets models on the fly, showing in a very simple interface how the building will perform: will a design change cost more energy or less? Is there enough daylight in the offices or too little? At what time of day and year? Is the HVAC systems appropriate for the building? The idea is to put this type of conceptual design very early in the cycle, to enable architects and designers to use cloud infrastructure to compute often in order to create the most appropriate trade-offs.

Trimble’s Chris Keating, general manager of the Architecture & Design Division said that “[T]oday, design is no longer just about aesthetics. Architects need to consider building performance in a more intuitive way, and be able to collaborate better with the engineers who design the systems that make buildings work. We have been a development partner with Sefaira for years now, and we are excited to increase our commitment to this space by adding Sefaira’s tools into Trimble’s portfolio of products for building designers and engineers.”

Adds Mads Jensen, CEO of Sefaira, “Sefaira’s tools are already being used by designers at more than 500 firms globally. Joining forces with Trimble will allow us to expand the reach of our tools much further, bringing performance analysis to many more architects around the world. This is an exciting milestone in our journey towards a future where building design is synonymous with high-performance, resulting in a built environment that is truly sustainable.”

This is a very interesting deal that shows that cloud computing continues to be a game-changer for businesses that cannot, typically, afford a huge compute infrastructure of their own. By putting analysis on the cloud, small firms can compete with larger ones and bring their expertise much more readily to clients.

Sefaira was founded in 2010 and funded in several rounds by venture capitalists and angel investors, including a $10.8 million round in 2012 led by New York venture capitalist Braemar Energy Ventures, Netherlands-based Chrysalix SET and London-based Hermes GPE and another $7.2 million in 2013 (as well as a $2 million venture debt facility from Silicon Valley Bank).

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, though we may learn more when Trimble announces Q4 2015 results tomorrow.