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The clean-tech startup announced on Wednesday that it has closed on the first $300,000 of the round, led by Virginia-based Amplifier Ventures. The closing included the conversion of $100,000 of debt that e-Chromic owed to Amplifier and other angel investors.
E-Chromic also launched an AngelList online funding campaign on Wednesday as it tries to finish off the seed round, which founder and chairman Loren Burnett said will help the company add senior and junior science staff.
Boulder-based e-Chromic, formerly US eChromic, is developing a thin reflective film that can be applied to existing windows to allow users to wirelessly control the amount of light and heat transmitted through the windows.
The technology was invented at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, and e-Chromic has an exclusive license to develop and commercialize the product.
Burnett said the film has the potential to allow “users to select whether to reflect heat, light or both.” The company touts the film as capable of reducing cooling costs by about 35 percent for the typical office building.
“We are very much a part of the internet of things as our products will also allow users to control their home or business’ energy consumption from a remote location, or automatically through third-party software,” Burnett said.
Burnett said other electrochromic window technology is available on the market, but that the retrofit aspect of e-Chromic’s product provides a major cost savings.
“That’s a huge market opportunity that the others don’t have,” Burnett said.
Burnett said he anticipates the product could be available for commercial buildings by 2016, with residential options available about two or three years later. The cost of the film, he said, will be about $20 per square foot of window space with an estimated break-even point on cost savings taking two to three years.
Burnett founded e-Chromic in 2011 with his own money. But in addition to the seed funding, the company has received $400,000 in grants from the Department of Energy and NREL, including an award of $300,000 earlier this year.
The company employs just one other person besides Burnett, who mainly runs the business from his home and at NREL. E-Chromic so far has contracted with NREL to have the lab do its research and development. The company is in a prototype stage right now as it tries to ramp up to larger window versions of the film that can be tested.
“The company has made tremendous progress since we helped establish it two years ago,” Jonathan Aberman, managing director of Amplifier, said in a press release. “The company has benefitted from a strong and continuing relationship with NREL, which has provided funding and support to continue to progress this important technology. The proceeds of the series seed will allow us to move technology from the lab to a product that can be commercially evaluated.”