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Metry makes being energy-smart look easy

Metry's CEO and co-founder Magnus Hornef describes himself as a technical visionary who "basically never has been employed". Then again, who needs an employer when you have come up with a solution that helps real estate companies take a completely new approach to their energy consumption?

In Metry's premises – an old industrial property – red bricks and rigid steel beams are mixed with modern, minimalistic design. It is a perfect setting for a company that has created a new solution to an enduring problem. The office, located in Gothenburg's Gullbergsvass, is now home to more than 40 employees, compared to 13 in 2019. But let’s start from the beginning.

In 2012, Magnus Hornef and Metry's other co-founder, Joel Torkelsson, met at Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship. All students from the programme were divided into teams, and a teacher in organizational psychology had a feeling that the technically skilled Magnus and the driven Joel would complement each other. The teacher was right. But the atmosphere in the group was really good in general, Magnus says.

Magnus Hornef, CEO and co-founder of Metry
"One could say that the data we gather helps our customers detect possible energy leakage, so our partners can help them save energy", Magnus Hornef says, CEO and co-founder of Metry.

“It was absolutely fantastic. All in all, there were about 30 students, working on different business ideas. We supported each other and there was always someone to ask for input. After graduation, we actually chose to rent an office together with three or four of the other project groups, to be able to continue working in the same fashion.”

It would still take some time, however, before Joel and Magnus had laid the foundation for what would become Metry – a company with expertise in the collection of energy data. During a couple of years, the duo worked on various projects and got by through grants from, among others, Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova. At the same time, the other project groups began to drop off, one by one. In the end there were only two of them left.

“I would say that a couple of things were central for us becoming one of the companies from Chalmers that would carry on. Firstly, the fact that we came up with a method for collecting data from energy companies, through scraping. Secondly, that we realised that our customers – and the willingness to pay for our solution – were to be found in the property industry”, Magnus Hornef says.

In other words, the Metry duo had come up with the idea of ​​building a platform where energy data is collected – and a method for doing so. But then there was also the matter of finding the right target group.

Metry is sort of like a bookkeeping system for energy data.
Magnus Hornef
CEO and co-founder of Metry

“Initially, we turned to the energy companies, but these mainly saw our solution as a ‘nice to have’ and weren’t willing to spend much on it. After a while, however, Joel realised that real estate companies should have the strongest incentives for energy monitoring. Since 40 percent of all energy is consumed by buildings, there are great opportunities to save both money and the environment within this field. In addition, we discovered that one of the big pain points in this industry was the lack of access to energy data.”

And with that insight, things took off for Metry – which has now moved from the university halls, via a shared office space, on to its own premises in Gullbergsvass. Several major players in the real estate industry are also on the client list, among them Vasakronan, Castellum and Rikshem.

The stars have aligned for companies focusing energy and sustainability

To be able to give a more detailed description of Metry's services, we need to get a little technical and talk about energy measurement. Often there are namely several different types of measurement points in larger properties. 
Firstly, there’s the main measurement, which registers all energy that is consumed and that the electricity companies base their invoices on. Secondly, there can also be various sub-meters, which the property owner has chosen to install. These measure the same energy once again – but more specifically – for example, the consumption of the elevators in a building. Finally, if energy is also produced within the property – as with solar cells – this comes with additional measurement points.

“What we offer is a platform where we retrieve data from the customer's energy company – through scraping, files, APIs or invoices. We also add the various sub-metering points. Metry is sort of like a bookkeeping system for energy data”, Magnus Hornef says.

When asked what actual actions improved energy follow-up can result in, he answers: 
“One could say that the data we gather helps our customers detect possible energy leakage, so our partners can help them save energy. There are several improvements that may become relevant for them, such as changing windows, installing solar cells, upgrading their ventilation systems, or looking into if the main part of the heating could be conducted at different hours.”

The legal requirements for energy reporting, as laid out by the European Union’s new sustainability taxonomy, has also generated an influx of new customers for Metry.

“Many Swedish companies are at the forefront of energy monitoring, and in general Swedish properties don’t consume many kilowatt hours, compared to Europe as a whole. At the same time, companies are now getting in touch to get help with data for their sustainability reporting. This is yet another signal that our services are needed – that the stars have aligned for companies focusing on energy and sustainability.”

Big steps towards growth and new markets

In 2022, SEB Greentech Venture Capital invested in Metry, and since then the company has been focusing intensely on growth.

“The risk capital has given us an opportunity to broaden our competence and strengthen our networks. This is crucial when you, like us, want to grow on new markets. We also see new business opportunities in being able to collaborate with the banking sector, for example by offering credible data on properties' energy consumption in connection with lending”, Magnus Hornef says.

Metry currently has over 200 customers in ten different countries. But, given the growth ambitions, where does Magnus see the company in ten years from now?

“By then we are the industry leader throughout Europe and the obvious choice for collecting energy data.”

It seems you really like what you do – was it always obvious that you would start a company, or have you ever considered a career as an employee?

“I have always been interested in technology and data and have had many ideas about what could be done. When I was 17 or 18 years old, I had actually already started developing and selling various computer programs. When I think about it, I've probably never been employed, apart from a gig as an advertising sales rep, or so. Even that ended up with me building the company’s booking system for ads”, Magnus Hornef concludes with a laughter. 

Read more about Metry at: metry.io/en

Article published on December 5, 2022

Text: Lucas Hermans
Photo: Louise Nylund

This is SEB Greentech VC

SEB Greentech Venture Capital is a unit within SEB that invests in green technology, focusing on transformative ideas that promise substantial impact in reducing greenhouse gas emissions or in preventing transgression of the planetary boundaries. They can invest in hardware, software and technology platform solutions, in sectors ranging from renewable energy, energy storage, water and agricultural technology, circular business models, to waste management.