HOUSTON INNOVATORS PODCAST EPISODE 184
Podcast: Houston home tech startup raises $22M to grow sales
A Houston startup that combines unique sensor technology with software analysis has raised its next round of funding to — according to Founder and CEO Josh Teekell — turbocharge its sales.
SmartAC.com launched in 2020, emerging from stealth with $10 million raised in a series A. Over the past almost three years, the company has firmed up its hardware, developed its software, and pivoted slightly from selling directly to consumers to adopting a B2B approach.
The company's sensors can monitor all aspects of air conditioning units and report back any issues, meaning homeowners have quicker and less costly repairs. While SmartAC.com started with providing the service and tech to homeowners directly, Teekell says he's had a greater interest in working with plumbers and HVAC companies who then deploy the technology to their customers.
"It became quite evident that homeowners don't care about air conditioning really at all until their system breaks," Teekell says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "The technology is really built around giving those contractors as another way to gain a customer relationship and keep it."
Now, Teekell says he's focused on turbocharging sales to these contractors, and he's going to do that with the funding raised in the series B round that closed this month. He says the company will also grow its team that goes out to deploy the technology and train the contractors on the platform.
"This funding really buys us a couple years of runway through the end of next year and allows us to focus on getting to cash flow breakeven, which is right around our wheelhouse of our abilities here in the next 12 months," Teekell says. "In general, we've accomplished everything we'd be able to accomplish on the hardware side, and now it's just about deployment."
The $22 million SmartAC.com has raised came from local investors. Teekell, who hasn't announced the full list of the round's investors, explains that while traditionally startups might have more opportunity on the coasts for raising money, it's not hard to sell Houstonians on the benefits of SmartAC.com's optimized air conditioning.
"We've been very fortunate to get some of the biggest names in Houston on our cap table," Teekell says. "Since we're raising a bunch of money locally, everyone understands what a pain air conditioning can be."
The Bay Area and New York regions don't have the same air conditioning problems, Teekell says, so raising funding in those areas was challenging.
"Our overall vision as a company is to perfect the experience of home comfort," Teekell says.
He shares more on how he hopes to accomplish this vision on the podcast. Listen to the interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.