Announcing Our Seed Investment in UtilityAPI
Accelerating the Transition to Solar Energy
We are thrilled to announce our seed investment in UtilityAPI, an enterprise software company that is accelerating the worldwide shift to renewable energy by making it easier and more cost effective to switch to solar. The company's API portal service enables solar companies to seamlessly connect to prospective customers' utility accounts and instantly download structured data that is used to better qualify leads and improve the likelihood of a sale. Accessing historic usage and billing data from utilities is a major customer acquisition pain point for solar companies, resulting in as much as a 30% loss in lead conversion. UtilityAPI is reducing these "soft costs" - which represent a large percentage of total solar installation costs - and improving the sales process, ultimately leading to a faster adoption rate of solar. The company is making excellent progress, and its beta product is currently being tested by a number of the top solar industry players.
Our TMI (team, market, impact) indicators are strong for UtilityAPI. The company is backed by co-founders Elena Lucas and Daniel Roesler, who pack an impressive one-two punch as a cohesive hustler-hacker team. Daniel initially thought up the idea when he encountered the problem first hand as an engineer at TerraVerde Renewable Partners and solved it by building a widget to connect to utilities' legacy systems. He then joined forces with Elena, who has leveraged her extensive connections in the solar industry to get the UtilityAPI service into the hands of some of the top solar companies. This investment is also a bet on the global solar market, which is experiencing explosive growth as solar implementation costs plummet (see chart below) and per kilowatt-hour costs approach parity with grid energy. UtilityAPI is extremely well positioned for, and in fact is enabling, the rapid growth in solar. Lastly, this investment is also about supporting a team who's ultimate ambition is to stop climate change by replacing more and more of the 520+ quadrillion BTU's used annually with sources that don't add carbon to the atmosphere.
We've hit the ground running with UtilityAPI since we made our investment and we're working with them on a number of fronts including customer development, business model, and fundraising. The company plans to come to market with their seed round in the New Year, and we'll be helping with investor connections at that time. The company is hiring a Software Engineer, so please reach out if you know anyone who may be a fit. Please let us know if you'd like to learn more about UtilityAPI or Better Ventures. We are planning a second close on our new fund prior to year end and a final close next year. If you would like more timely updates on Better Ventures, please follow us on Twitter and AngelList. We wish you the best during this Holiday Season!