The Man Who Steve Jobs Considered For Apple's CEO Is Back With A Startup That Lights Google's Buildings

Enlighted CEO Joe CostelloYouTubeEnlighted CEO Joe Costello

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he declared himself interim CEO. He wanted someone else to be Apple’s full-time CEO, so he could be the chairman and focus on his other job at Pixar.

Joe Costello was one of the people interviewed for that position in 1997.

Costello had a lengthy conversation with Jobs, but their talks only led to Jobs realising there was no one else in the world that wanted the Apple CEO position more than himself. Jobs finally dropped the “interim” from his title in 2000.

Although Costello didn’t get the Apple job, he’s had a successful career, building several tech startups, including one that got acquired by Qualcomm last year. He was also considered for the top position at Google and Yahoo along the way.

Now, Costello is back with another startup called Enlighted, which he says has given him the “largest market opportunity” in his career.

Enlighted builds motion sensors attached to office lights that can monitor movement and collect data accordingly. The sensors, embedded with a micro processor, are wired to every light fixture, and can report energy data, space occupancy, room temperature, and ambient light status in real-time.

For example, it can automatically turn on the light as soon as someone enters the room, unlike old sensors where you had to wave your arms in order to keep the lights on. Since it collects data by the second, it can figure out which areas are underused, and suggest how to better utilise office space. If a store owner wants to see which parts of the store is most crowded during the day, Enlighted’s data can tell where most people go in the store.

With this data, companies can save 50 to 75% of their energy costs, and use their office space much more efficiently, according to Enlighted.

“You have a sensor and constant data stream throughout your facility, so you can learn a lot more about it,” Costello told Business Insider. “It’s like the building has a brain and it can sense what’s going on around it.”

Enlighted is growing quickly and is now installed by some of the largest companies, including Google, LinkedIn, AT&T, HP and Intel. Google and LinkedIn use it for all of their buildings worldwide. Enlighted has raised over $US55 million so far from Kleiner Perkins, Intel, and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

Here’s how Enlighted’s system actually works:

This is the sensor you connect to your office lights. The whole installation process takes less than 20 minutes.

Enlighted sensorYouTubeEnlighted sensor

The sensor can track people’s motion and send back second-by-second data on energy usage, space occupancy, room temperature, and ambient light settings back to this “Energy Manager.”

Enlighted Energy ManagerYouTubeEnlighted Energy Manager

The data shows up on the building management’s screen in real-time. For example, management can see how much energy was actually consumed, and how much would have been consumed without Enlighted’s system.

Enlighted management screenshotYouTubeEnlighted management screenshot

It also shows a heat map to give an idea of which parts of the office is most used. Based on this, management can make decisions on how to better use certain parts of the office.

Enlighted management screenshotYouTubeEnlighted management screenshot

With Enlighted, office lights turn on as soon as it detects human motion. So if no one’s occupying space on the other side of the room, it would remain turned off.

Enlighted keeps the lights off when there's no human motion around it.YouTubeEnlighted keeps the lights off when there’s no human motion around it.

That means lights will stay on as long as you’re in the room. You won’t have to wave your hands to turn on the lights again.

No more waving hands to turn on the light.YouTubeNo more waving hands to turn on the light.

Customers don’t pay anything upfront. They only pay a portion of the money they save as a result of Enlighted’s system. “Every month, we bill them for the energy we save,” Enlighted’s CTO Tanuj Mohan told us.

Enlighted saves a lot of energy for you.YouTubeEnlighted saves a lot of energy for you.

Here’s a video about Enlighted:

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