Comfort without compromise: Mysa develops smart solutions to lower the costs of energy consumption
- St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
In Canada, we're no strangers to chilly weather. While a cooler climate is part of daily life for a good portion of the year, not to mention essential for some of our favourite outdoor activities, the cold weather is not without its challenges. In particular, keeping our homes warm and comfortable can be quite costly for our wallets and the environment.
Having grown up in a small town in Newfoundland that relied primarily on baseboard heaters, Joshua and Zachery Green were no strangers to the costs of heating a home. With degrees in mechanical engineering and a passion for finding smart solutions, the brothers were inspired to find a way to help Canadians simultaneously reduce their energy consumption, while lowering home heating costs. They established Mysa in 2014, a company that designs and sells smart thermostats. Mysa became the first carbon-neutral company in Newfoundland and Labrador, and in a few short years has grown from a small team of 6 to 120 employees.
In its early days, the Mysa team in St. John's, Newfoundland, worked tirelessly to find a way to better control and lower the energy consumption associated with baseboard heating. It was during this time that Josh connected with Peter Howell, a client engagement advisor (CEA) with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), for support in getting his technology off the ground.
In 2016, Mysa received funding support through NRC IRAP's Youth Employment Program (YEP), to help hire young talent to enhance their internal technical capabilities and innovation capacity for their new technology build. Through YEP, the firm first hired a software developer who assisted with Mysa's user interface (UI) and web application build. The funding then enabled the firm to hire a mechanical engineering student who helped with the development of the remote-control function. Both projects were crucial components that helped to accelerate product development and the execution of the field trial phase of Mysa's first product.
"Peter Howell was the first representative from NRC IRAP that we met with as we became more engaged in the Newfoundland and Labrador start-up tech community. He helped us think through our original business ideas, understand what business supports were available to us and introduced us to key contacts that we would end up working with over the next several years to help us turn our early ideas into a full-fledged business.
By 2017, Mysa's prototype product was ready for testing and the firm embarked upon its first pilot. Throughout the process, NRC IRAP provided guidance and expertise on how to screen, assess and install their product safely with existing electrical panels in homes. Once installations were complete in more than a dozen homes, the firm was able to run the pilot and collect the data needed to improve hardware and software design and functions. The end result was a leading edge and cost-effective product with both local and global market potential. This new product generated $700k in pre-orders and so began the firm's manufacturing and delivery of the world's first smart thermostat for baseboard heating that integrated with all major smart home platforms, the Mysa Smart Thermostat.
After its first success, the team at Mysa was inspired to do more and began focusing on how to address homes heated by natural gas and oil. They considered that moving heat, instead of creating heat, might be a better solution compared to generating new electricity to convert these heating systems to electric. Implementing smart features to fan coil thermostats was not an easy task, as these units have complicated motors and valves. If they could find a way to make it work, it would provide a solution for larger buildings and for people living in apartments and condominiums.
NRC IRAP supported the electrical, mechanical and software development for this new product through additional YEP funding to hire 4 new full-time employees, talent that remains part of the Mysa team today. After 2 years of research, development and product testing, Mysa's Smart Thermostat for Air Conditioners and Mini-Split Heat Pumps, hit the market in the summer of 2021. Later that year, Mysa received the 'Smart Thermostat of the Year' award at the prestigious IoT Breakthrough Awards.
Mysa has continued to receive numerous industry recognitions. Most recently, it was named Newfoundland and Labrador's "Tech Company of the Year" for 2022 by the Business Development Bank of Canada, celebrating Mysa's leadership in innovation and its presence at the forefront of North America's transition to sustainable energy and electrification.
Over the course of its evolution, Mysa can also attribute its success to a strong values-based culture, and an environment that fosters equity, diversity and inclusion. The firm's annual "Women of Mysa" campaign on LinkedIn, which promotes gender-based equality, endeavours to break down the barriers for women in the tech sector, an initiative that NRC IRAP also strives to foster through its engagement with Canada's business communities.
NRC IRAP industrial technology advisor, Don Battcock, has been supporting Mysa for several years and recognizes the firm's unique growth. "In a short period of time, Mysa has evolved from a supplier of smart products to an energy management solutions provider in the fight against climate change," says Don. "They are a testament to the fact that one firm and one idea can have the potential to make a very big difference, locally, nationally and globally."
With an eye to the future, Mysa has now set their sights on the next level of innovative technology to decarbonize home heating and contribute to the fight against climate change: the advancement of solutions for virtual grid management. In addition to NRC IRAP, the firm is also being supported by the Business Development Bank of Canada, Export Development Canada, private equity firms and venture capital funding, with the goal of offering a new solution to decrease energy consumption and energy costs at an even greater scale.
Decarbonizing electricity and energy usage is a complicated challenge that will require a global effort to achieve. Today, Mysa aims to lead that charge with its Smart innovative solutions. An employee-centric culture coupled with an innovative product line has seen a steady growth for the firm. Since first entering the market, Mysa's products have generated $10M per year in revenue and the firm is attracting the interest of top talent across North America. Having recently secured $20M in venture funding, Mysa is poised for further growth and innovation as it champions eco-conscious and smart energy solutions for the future.