Lady Gaga’s Australian startup just launched a connected tech system that reduces power bills

Lady Gaga on the Red Carpet at THE 59TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS, broadcast live from the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, Sunday, Feb. 12. (Photo by Phil McCarten/CBS via Getty Images)

ASX-listed Buddy Platform today launched its new product, Buddy Ohm, which uses internet of things devices to collect data to save electricity, water and gas bills for major buildings.

Lady Gaga’s investment firm AF Square and tech giant Microsoft were both seed investors in the venture, with the company floating on the ASX in late 2015 through a backdoor listing via former Western Australian resources company Potash Minerals.

Buddy Ohm base units are installed near resource meters to harvest data via internet of things sensors, which then feeds the information back to the Buddy Platform software. Real-time analysis and reporting can then allow building managers to actively make decisions to conserve energy, or automatic rules and alerts can be setup for more passive monitoring.

Vice president of product and engineering Habib Heydarian said that the end-to-end solution is a case of “truly democratising resource data”, allowing building managers without large budgets to access sophisticated utilities monitoring.

“Once [building] operators and occupants have access to this data and the insights it can provide, they can be an active part of the effort to be more efficient,” he said.

When the new monitoring product was publicly launched in Sydney this week, the company revealed the first customer will be 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle, where Buddy is now headquartered. The heritage-listed building reportedly contains a performance space approximately the same size as the Sydney Opera House concert hall.

The energy-saving monitoring system is similar to an offering from another Australian startup, CIM Enviro, which made headlines earlier this month for wrapping up a $3 million series A funding round.

Buddy Platform’s David McLauchlan holding up a Buddy Ohm base unit. (Source: supplied)

Like CIM’s system, Buddy Ohm earns a recurring revenue by charging a $US1500 monthly fee to each building.

Buddy Platform chief executive David McLauchlan, who splits time between Adelaide and Seattle, said that the emergence of smart cities has led to “an amazing opportunity” for energy tech companies to help people consume fewer resources.

“I’m incredibly proud of the team and the game-changing product we’ve built, and I’m particularly excited to grow the Ohm product into a central hub connecting smart city-wide infrastructure with the Buddy Platform,” he said.

“The global conversation around energy – how we generate it, how we consume it and how we conserve it – has never been more urgent, nor more relevant.”

As a former Microsoft executive, McLauchlan still has strong ties to that world, as an adviser to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He is also a mentor at consultancy Innovyz Start and Australian startup Bluedot Innovation, and a co-founder of events management business Bonza Bash Productions.