Co-Innovation Best Practice: First COINS product heads for mass production
Interview with Will Temple, founder of startup Ampotech
Ampotech is one of four startups in Infineon's Co-Innocation Space in Singapore. It is a connected hardware company specializing in the capture and evaluation of data on energy and electricity consumption in buildings and plants. After three-fourths of their one-year residence period it's time for the good news: The product co-developed with Infineon is set to go into mass production at the end of the year.
We spoke with Ampotech founder Will Temple to find out a little more about him, his product and the partnership with Infineon.
Your products help render energy consumption in existing buildings visible so that it can be analyzed. Where did the idea come from?
Will Temple: Singapore is incredibly modern. Everyone here is constantly connected – by smartphone, fitness tracker, the latest app. And our infrastructure is constantly getting more modern: After all, Singapore plans to be the first Smart Nation in the world! Nevertheless you still quite often see old buildings that are of course neither smart, connected nor energy-efficient. By the way, the fact that we're developing in all areas, but that our building technologies are often obsolete is a phenomenon found all over the world. And we thought, it doesn't have to stay that way…
And that's the reason you founded Ampotech in 2014?
Will Temple: Yes. I'm a mechanical engineer and I became interested in energy systems, energy generation and renewable energy at a very early stage. I came to Singapore in 2011, worked for a year in building services, then conducted research at the Advanced Digital Sciences Center, where we laid the foundations for our company as it is today. Together with two other co-founders I spun off Ampotech from those activities at the end of 2014.
What exactly do your products do?
Will Temple: Our products and software are used in existing buildings to measure electricity and energy consumption which they log and analyze. This makes it easier to control consumption and proactively avoid unnecessary electricity consumption. Since the information is in the cloud, it's possible to compare multiple buildings with one another and connect them in order to create a smart infrastructure.
What about data security and privacy?
Will Temple: Maybe I should clarify that: At this point we concentrate on industry and office buildings, not private residences. So nobody can see how long Mr. Jones spends in the bathtub or when Ms. Smith goes to bed.
Naturally data security is a big topic for us as well, and is actually the main reason we work together with Infineon DSS. We use the OPTIGA™ TPM to guarantee data security.
What made you decide to move into the Infineon Co-Innovation Space?
Will Temple: We've known Infineon since 2017, when we participated jointly in a project proposal. The team and the products made a positive impression on me right away. Then as Infineon was offering vacancies in its Co-Innovation Space, it was clear to us that it would mean added value to move in there to intensify the collaboration with Infineon.
And now, after almost three-fourths of the time is up, what successes can you attribute to the partnership?
Will Temple: The close collaboration has moved us ahead quite a bit. We've developed a new version of our AmpoHub together with Infineon's R&D engineers. At the moment only based on WiFi; in the future there will also be other wireless technologies. Development has now been completed and we're currently working on a prototype we plan to present at OktoberTech Singapore on October 25.
And Infineon has helped us with a lot more than just product development. We were also able to learn about marketing: For example, the Sales and Marketing teams conducted workshops together with us and illustrated go-to-market strategies.
Of course, working with Infineon in this program also provides a certain level of credibility for our business when we speak to prospective partners and investors as well. In fact, in May we received a financing commitment of 1 million SGD by Silicon Solution Ventures and two other investors.
What are the next steps for you?
Will Temple: Next we'll put what we've learned into practice and will conquer a new market in India. We'll be moving out of the Co-Innovation Space at the end of October and will make room for new startups. Then the real highlight comes at the end of the year: We'll go into mass production with our new product, co-developed by Infineon. So things will stay exciting!
Ampotech and AmpoHub
Ampotech is a connected hardware company based in Singapore specializing in the capture and analysis of electricity consumption data in buildings and plants. The company was founded in late 2014 as a spin-off from the Advanced Digital Sciences Center (ADSC), a research center affiliated with the University of Illinois and one of Singapore's leading information technology research institutes. In 2015 the company received an innovation grant from the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore and has been honored as a top company in global deep tech and energy tech startup competitions.
Today Ampotech has a headcount of six and plans to grow to eight by the end of the year.
The new model of the AmpoHub, a wireless power meter with edge computing capability for anomaly detection and load disaggregation, is set to enter the market late this year. The AmpoHub contains the OPTIGA™ TPM. The TPM consists of attack-resistant hardware and securely programmed firmware that can store sensitive security keys for authentication and data encryption. In the AmpoHub the TPM makes sure that the end to end communication between the device and the cloud server is protected.
Will Temple, originally from the USA, came to Singapore in 2011 to do research and gain new experience. He worked at the Advanced Digital Science Center and joined with two colleagues to found Ampotech in 2014. He hasn't returned to the USA since. He appreciates Singapore for its rapid and progressive national development and as an excellent environment for startups; he also values the mix of cultures and the opportunity to easily travel throughout the entire region.
On October 19, 2018 Infineon opened its first Co-Innovation Space at Infineon Asia Pacific regional headquarters in Singapore. Four technology startups currently reside in the Co-Innovation Space, also known as COINS, where they work together with Infineon on the development of their products and their companies. The Infineon expert team advises the startups in the areas of product and business development as well as on go-to-market strategies. This partnership with the startups is also very important to Infineon: It helps us acquire new markets and develop new applications, new ideas and new products while improving our processes.