Smart sprinkler system control company Rachio has just raised a $2.5 million Series A round, according to SEC filings. The company said the round is ongoing and won't likely be closed for several more weeks. The Denver-based startup’s sprinkler device, called Iro, can be controlled via a smart phone app and automatically adjusts yard irrigation based on a number of conditions. Recently, in April 2014, Rachio raised a $400,000 seed round led by the Foundry Group’s angel investment arm FG Angels.
Iro connects to the Internet via WiFi, and then can turn sprinklers on and off remotely via a smartphone app. The device’s cloud-based software can also automatically schedule watering, which is optimized for local weather, soil characteristics, seasonality, water budgets and user feedback. Monthly, the device generates reports on water usage. By balancing inputs the device is supposed to optimize water usage and save owners money. The device costs $249.
Rachio also is plugging in early to growing Nest smart home ecosystem ‘Works With Nest.’ That IoT platform, in addition to Apple's HomeKit, is striving to be the place where connected devices are integrated, organized and controlled. Likely in time, Rachio will not just be a stand-alone app, but an integrated feature within the Works With Nest ecosystem (Rachio currently isn't compatible with HomeKit).
The Works With Nest ecosystem recently got a boost from Boulder-based smart home connection platform Revolv, which it bought for an undisclosed amount.
Iro stands in stark contrast to standard sprinkler systems, which are notoriously difficult to install and use. Iro is said to install in about 15 minutes and is intuitive to use. Rachio claims that those characteristics, plus the device’s automated features, help owners save a lot of time and money on water. According to the EPA as much as 50 percent of the water used outdoors in America is wasted from inefficient watering methods and systems. And as drought pushes states like California to ration water more, and perhaps raise the price of water, savings could be ever more precious.
Update: 2:30 pm MST; Rachio's funding round is ongoing for a couple more weeks
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