Austin’s Curb Monitors Energy Use, Aims to Be the Smart Home’s Brain
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see what that does to my electric consumption,’” says Choksi, who is also an Xconomist.
It’s still early days for the cleantech startup. Curb was last year spun out of an Austin-based solar power company called Circular Energy, where Norwood was the chief financial officer. Although he says that Curb’s device can work with a solar power system, he thought there might be other more incremental ways to reduce energy consumption.
“We had all these customers coming to the solar company, frustrated with their electricity bills,” he says. “It costs $15,000 to put a solar system on the roof. Maybe there’s a simpler solution.”
About 150 devices are out “in the wild” at residences, and about 14 commercial customers who are testing it out, Norwood says. About half of those are paying customers.
Curb has a partnership with Samsung’s “Smart Things” platform and has had “lots of conversations” with Nest, Norwood says.
The hardware and software for the Curb Energy Monitor costs from $249 to $399, with discounts for purchasing multiple units for use in larger homes. Norwood says the company is in the middle of raising a seed round of funding to expand partnerships, and it plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign later this month to sell devices and generate buzz.
“We will ship early units as soon as the campaign is completed,” he says.
In the meantime, Norwood says the company is talking to large national retailers and retail energy providers to sell Curb’s devices. The company has a manufacturing facility in Austin where it can build 1,000 devices a week.
Choksi says the startup’s relative youth is mitigated by its executives’ experience and “hunger.” “That has gotten them to build a product and test it in the real world, which has allowed them to quickly iterate and improve the product,” he says. “That real-world experience is why I have confidence that the product works.”
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