“Our goal is to save as much energy as the city of Utrecht annually consumes, by 2027”
'Korys provided us with the space we needed to further develop. They proved to be a perfect match for Sensorfact.'
A born entrepreneur, for whom trial and error is just part of the learning process. Sustainability, energy, and data are his driving forces. Pieter Broekema, CEO and founder of Sensorfact loves adventure, and the Sensorfact story certainly reads like an adventure novel.
Sensorfact makes energy saving easy for small and medium-sized industrial businesses. The company developed an easily installed monitoring system that registers the consumption of each individual machine and sends the data wirelessly to the cloud. A clear overview then shows you where energy potentially can be saved.
The objective is crystal clear and threefold: the product must be cheap, simple enough for customers to install themselves, and ‘all-in-one’ (hardware, software and advice). And there’s clearly a market for this concept: Sensorfact employs 90 people at 4 different locations, serving some 800 customers in 10 countries.
The early days
After completing his studies in physics, Pieter soon realised he wanted to be an entrepreneur. He talked about it to a friend at a party, and that same night they decided to quit their jobs and start a new adventure together. At the time they did not have a specific idea, let alone a business plan or a first customer…
They simply started knocking doors and after a while they were asked to do an ‘energy scan’. Obviously, there was no easy all-in-one solution available: in most cases, companies – and particularly the small ones – could only provide some general data (like total energy consumption) and no in-depth details.
By that time, Pieter’s friend regarded the uncertain existence of a start-up without a plan just a bit too adventurous and decided to leave. Pieter continued on his own, developed a business plan, presented it to Engie and raised his first investment.
A new idea was born, there was some start-up capital and a clear market need. Using detailed data to find energy saving opportunities to bring down your energy consumption, is now more important than ever, particularly for SMEs.
Suddenly the context too became favourable: the new European taxonomy regulation, and sky-rocketing energy prices due to the armed conflict in Ukraine, were all significant catalysts for Sensorfact.
Investing to grow
Thanks to that first investment by Engie and then the second one by ForwardOne in 2016, Sensorfact was able to rent an office in Utrecht and set up a team of data analysts, energy consultants, software developers and salespeople.
Soon there was a clear need to upscale and become more international. At the same time, continually searching for new investors was weighing things down: “It takes time, and it stops you from focusing on product development and on your business,” says Pieter Broekema. In 2021, at a trade fair in Paris, he met Korys. With their approach, values and long-term vision as a sustainable investor, Korys proved to be the perfect match for Sensorfact. They provided Sensorfact with the space they needed to further develop.
Korys proved to be the perfect match for Sensorfact. They provided them with the space they needed to further develop
What the future holds
Sensorfact aims to grow along two main paths. On the one hand, there will be new product developments and innovations: in 2023 they want to launch a new sensor that, as well as tracking energy consumption, will also predict machine failures; on the other hand, the company will enter markets outside Europe, specifically Asia and America.
The sky seems to be the limit right now, but the company also sticks to its focus on ‘people, planet and profit’.
By 2027 Sensorfact aims to have saved as much energy as the city of Utrecht annually consumes.
They also want to be a good employer, where people can thrive and develop. Not surprisingly, the data-savvy Sensorfact measures this and checks how happy employees are: the aim is to score at least 8 out of 10 every month.
The sustainable approach that Sensorfact offers and the impact they have on energy savings are obvious.