Senseware co-founder and CEO Serene Almomen

Fresh off a $1 million seed round from local investors, Washington, D.C.-based Senseware is gaining traction in the emerging Internet of Things realm, led by co-founder and CEO Serene Almomen, an industry veteran and holder of a PhD in IT from George Mason.

Founded in 2012, Senseware is developing Internet-connected sensors and cloud-based software that can measure conditions in a physical environment. And the company has been quickly expanding its reach. At the end of 2013, Senseware had its sensors in just 20 buildings.

Today, the company has grown to service over 90 buildings and it expects to increase that number to cover 100 before the end of 2015.

While flying under the radar, the young startup has been able to sign a number of significant clients, including Booz Allen, Enterprise Community Partners and the Montgomery County government.

Senseware co-founder/CTO Julien Stamatakis

The six-person company, led by Almomen and co-founder Julien Stamatakis, is part of a growing cluster of local startups that are developing Internet-of-things (IoT) products specifically designed for business clients. Those clients include the owners and/or energy management companies in charge of commercial office buildings, hotels, medical centers, industrial factories and warehouses.

The majority of Senseware’s clients are currently in the commercial real estate space—specifically, owners of office buildings, Almomen tells DC Inno. But the startup will be looking to expanding into new areas and capitalize on its other verticals, she said, such as the agriculture and healthcare sectors.

Senseware’s technology can collect and aggregate data that’s related to things like changing temperature, power usage and humidity in realtime—thereby adding an extra and detailed layer to energy management, Stamatakis said.

In the coming months, Almomen plans to bring one or two new professionals to her team. These individuals would be placed in the company’s sales and marketing division to help reach new clients.

IoT made easy?

Senseware’s sensors and software are easy to install, with the software being all cloud-based. That data is managed from a user-centric easy-to-use Web interface that Senseware can provide for client who do not otherwise have a front-end platform.

Data from those sensors can be directly streamed and integrated into third-party platforms as well.

Customers who user Senseware can receive things like real-time status alerts, if for example, the cooling units in their large food processing plant malfunctions. In such a case, an immediate alert, sent from the sensors to the cloud, can mean the difference between a large lose of inventory and a quick repair.

“The flexibility of our technology allows for a wide range of applications across a large number of markets. If we can tap into even a fraction of our technologies potential we’ll achieve our goal of being the leading data platform for the physical environment,” Almomen told DC Inno.

The company’s system requires relatively little maintenance outside of initial installation, Stamatakis explained, but that’s something they’re also working to curb. The company first began selling its first generation product in January 2014 and it’s currently developing a second generation model that will include sensors which can be installed directly by the clients, themselves. The idea is to cut costs and make the installation process easier. The second generation product is expected to launch in two months, Stamatakis said.

Regarding Senseware’s position in the marketplace, Serene said that the company is not a competitor to neighboring D.C. energy management startup Aquicore. Instead, the company’s products are more so seen as being able to compliment companies like Aquicore by providing them with their “comprehensive software and hardware solutions.”

“We feel great about our position in the market. Existing solutions are expensive and time consuming to install, with our wireless system and patent pending universal sensor interface we believe Senseware can be the standard platform for aggregating real-time data about the physical world,” Serene told DC Inno.

Women in IoT

While you’ve probably heard that there’s a majority gender disparity in the tech industry—where a large percentage of executives and employees are men—Almomen told DC Inno that it’s further amplified in the IoT space. “It feels like women make up a smaller percent of the work force here than in the larger tech community … While I can’t say with absolution that Senseware is the only women-led IoT focused company in DC (because we have such a growing community here), I haven’t run into other female leaders in this space,” Almomen told DC Inno.