May 26, 2021
Acuity Brands, Inc. has announced the acquisition of Rockpile Ventures, a Seattle-based accelerator of early-stage artificial intelligence (AI) companies.
Peter Han, co-founder of Rockpile Ventures, has been named President of Acuity’s newly-named Intelligent Spaces Group (ISG). Formerly referred to as Acuity’s Intelligent Buildings business, ISG includes Atrius® and Distech Controls™. Rockpile co-founder Dinesh Narayanan is now Vice President of Business Development of ISG. The addition of these leaders and the acquisition of Rockpile Ventures better positions Acuity for growth in solutions, software, and cloud application development.
“Attracting talented leaders is at the heart of our ability to continue delivering on our growth strategy,” said Neil Ashe, CEO, Acuity Brands. “We are thrilled to welcome Peter Han, Dinesh Narayanan and Rockpile Ventures to Acuity. Peter is well-known for driving business transformation with hardware and software solutions across verticals, and Dinesh along with the Rockpile team have supported that direction by building stakes in leading edge AI startups.”
Acuity now holds Rockpile’s equity interests in AI startups. Rockpile’s portfolio technologies have been deployed at leading enterprises across the energy, manufacturing, and retail verticals.
“We see great opportunities at Acuity to combine our existing footprint of sensors and back-office infrastructure with new AI models in the cloud,” said Han. “We are building systems to sense, think, and act at scale and to use Acuity’s reach and capability to deploy those systems to make spaces smarter, safer, and greener.”
Han has a track record of delivering change and revenue growth through 25 years in the technology industry. He will lead ISG teams based in Atlanta, Montreal, San Francisco, and Seattle. Before Rockpile, he worked as Chief Marketing Officer of Supermicro, a $3.5 billion revenue server manufacturer in the San Francisco Bay area. He also spent 15 years at Microsoft managing teams that shipped hundreds of millions of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) devices annually, including desktops, notebooks, servers, and commercial IoT devices infused with software solutions. His team coordinated ecosystem strategies for diverse partners and channels, both in commercial distribution and consumer retail.
Narayanan was formerly head of Microsoft’s devices incubation group, where he partnered with Azure and AI engineering, marketing, and business development teams to build out edge solutions. He worked with cross-functional groups creating the markets for autonomous systems and ambient sensors.