E Tapa - The Startup That Offers A Smart, Healthy And Safe Option To Manage Buildings

We had the opportunity to interview Ben Steinberg, CEO of Tapa, a Smart, Healthy and Safe option to manage buildings.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and Tapa?
I am a technologist and futurist at heart and believe if used properly, technology will continue to improve our lives and allow us to explore new possibilities. I started my career during the internet explosion. When I joined my first startup, I experienced the comradery and excitement of working with a small group of people to build a new business. So, while I have worked with some large organizations over the years, I seem to always gravitate back to the startup community when a good opportunity arises.

The idea for Tapa was first discussed back in 2010 with the company’s now co-investors Paul Meng and Mike Schmitz. They had just started a new system integration business called Smart Building Technologies that focused on installing and maintaining Building Automation Systems. However, we realized at that time the market was not quite ready for the change that Tapa would bring. Then in 2019 we regrouped and started a division within Smart Building Technologies to build a Proof of Concept that was to become the foundation of the Tapa platform.

Tapa is the next generation building automation system making buildings smart. It empowers building owners and operators to drive increased revenues and lower costs to maximize the occupant quality of experience; all seamlessly connected by one unified building platform application.

Q: How did you get the idea for Tapa?
A: The first idea for Tapa came as devices and sensors within buildings started to be connected over building networks and assigned IP addresses. This meant that we could develop a software-based platform that identified, connected and communicated with these devices. At the time the Building Automation System (BAS) market was dominated by a few large proprietary providers like Siemens (SI), Honeywell (HON), Schneider Electric (SBGSY) and Johnson Controls (JCI), but there was also a new market emerging for open systems. 

This is very similar to open source systems in the enterprise software markets developed for accounting, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Management (ERP). In 2000 these large enterprise system markets were dominated by a few large proprietary vendors like IBM (IBM), Oracle (ORCL) and Microsoft (MSFT). However, the internet and open source IP based applications led the way for much smaller, more agile companies to introduce disruptive technologies at a much lower price point.

Knowing that trends repeat themselves, I took my experience from the enterprise software markets and combined it with Paul’s knowledge of the commercial building space to create a next generation BAS. Tapa is a next generation Building Automation Platform (BAP) that will enable proprietary legacy building systems to work with new controls, sensors and IoT devices for real-time, seamless access, management and optimization. Tapa’s unified platform solution will ultimately disrupt and replace those systems with a more flexible and lower cost solution for building owners and operators.

Q: What makes your company different from others in your space?
A: Buildings consist of many systems that allow operators to control energy management, HVAC, fire alarms, sprinklers, security, lighting, access, building operations and much more. Traditionally each system is independent from each other and little thought was given to the need for these systems to communicate. Each had their own separate user interface and device. But a unified building platform can integrate and aggregate solutions across systems and devices to boost performance efficiencies, safety and convenience of physical spaces while unlocking new revenue opportunities and cost reductions.

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Kurt Benson 2 months ago Member's comment

Ben Steinberg, I wonder, does making these buildings "smarter", also makes them more susceptible to other risks, such as a power failures, malfunctions, or hacking?

Ben Steinberg 2 months ago Member's comment


Thank you for the question, security is a high priority with all communication between the Tapa platform and the building using the highest level of encryption possible. The building engineer also has override capability on all building systems. In the end, we believe the efficiencies and experience gained outweigh the risks.

Angry Old Lady 2 months ago Member's comment

Impressive, what is the "highest level of encryption" exactly?

Ben Steinberg 2 months ago Member's comment

HTTPS (TLS) adhering to https://ietf.org/ standards.

Old Time Investor 2 months ago Member's comment

Very impressive!

Ben Steinberg 2 months ago Member's comment

Thank you!