Atlanta-based Cove.Tool, an energy efficiency automation platform for the building industry, has closed a $750K seed round to ramp up their marketing, sales and development. The team is confident that they have built a platform that can automate up to 50 percent of the mundane tasks that a sustainability consultant or designer has to go through.
Co-founder Sandeep Ahuja knows the pain point Cove.Tool solves because she’s been there herself. As a sustainability consultant, Ahuja worked on large building projects that wanted to attain different sustainability metrics like achieving LEED certification, exceeding energy efficiency codes and more.
While Ahuja was happy about her work “to save the planet in small ways,” she felt frustrated about how many projects were out there that sustainability consultants couldn’t touch, due to cost or time constraints. Consultants like her weren’t cheap.
At the same time, Ahuja recognized that many of the tasks she performed — which took hours of her time — were repeatable. She and co-founders Patrick and Daniel Chopson decided to build a software that could take on all those tasks.
The platform works through several sustainability tasks. A Cove.Tool user can enter a building project’s location and size to receive an estimate of how much energy it will consume. They can change settings, such as adding more clear glass or alternate materials, and watch those estimates adjust. It provides climactic and weather information.
Teams can also work together within the platform, allowing multiple stakeholders — engineers, architects, designers and others — to see how the project is going.
Finally, the software will automatically optimize the building to reach the best energy efficiency possible, providing the designer or engineer with the “absolute cheapest way to get to your energy target,” according to Ahuja. The user can receive all of this information in a compact downloadable report.
Ahuja says that, with Cove.Tool, the time taken for this entire process is cut down from 18-20 hours to about one. She describes the solution as the “TurboTax for energy modeling.”
After designing the platform, Ahuja and her team focused on getting users onto the platform — originally for free — to work out all the kinks and bugs. Now that they feel confident in the product, they’re transitioning those users over to paid subscription plans. Impressively, Ahuja says they have experienced zero client churn.
Of the roughly 1,000 currently users, about 50 percent are mechanical engineers and sustainability consultants who are employing the software to be more efficient in their work. The remaining 50 percent are largely architects, as well as a few pilots with building owners and contractors themselves.
Cove.Tool has been tested on several buildings in its Atlanta hometown already, including the student center at Georgia Tech and a few buildings at Emory University.
Thus far, the team has been operating on the $100K investment from TechSquare Labs that they received following their presentation at the fourth Atlanta Startup Battle in summer of 2018. TechSquare Labs also joined in this seed round, along with Knoll Ventures and individual angel investors.
Ahuja says the new funding will give them a 14-month runway during which they can ramp up marketing across the U.S. to solidify their sales cycle and customer acquisition.
They’ll also add additional features to the product to ensure they cover everything that their few competitors offer. Ahuja’s goal is for there to be “absolutely nothing in the visual realm of the software competition that could take away any business from us.”
In the long run, the company may expand the platform to cover use cases like building renovations or product recommendations. Ahuja says they are gathering feedback from their customers and advice from investors.
“We have really, really smart investors with incredible connections that help us think beyond what we were originally thinking. They bring money, which is great, but they also bring a lot of expertise, knowledge and ideas.”
Photos provided by Cove.Tool