Smart home energy tech startup dcbel, announced Wednesday that it has raised $40 million in funding from investors including Coatue Management, Real Ventures, WTI and Narrative Fund as it rolls out its flagship product.
The Montreal-based company’s product, the r16, allows people to charge their electric vehicles quickly at home, harness solar energy, and get through a utility grid blackout by using energy stored in an electric vehicle battery to power their home.
Essentially an appliance that uses artificial intelligence to learn a user’s energy habits, the r16 knows how to allocate energy in a home.
For example, when a user comes home and plugs in their EV, dcbel knows to have it fully charged by the time the user leaves the next morning. And if the user is leaving earlier than usual, they can flag the schedule change in the app and dcbel will plan its energy allocation accordingly.
“It’s mostly an appliance that has your back from an energy point of view,” CEO Marc-Andre Forget said in an interview with Crunchbase News.
dcbel’s founding team has a history of working in the utility and energy space, but the company was born to make energy personal again, letting users do energy on their own terms, Forget said.
The company is planning on entering California, specifically the Bay Area, as its first market, and plans on entering New York by the end of 2021. The rest of North America will see the company’s rollout over the next 18 months.
California was chosen as dcbel’s first market because of last year’s energy issues the state had, experiencing its first rolling blackouts in almost 20 years, and “we think California deserves to have a better energy source,” Forget said.
The company also hadn’t considered entering Texas so soon, but power outages caused by a severe winter storm in the state in February caused dcbel to look into accelerating its entry into the market. Had dcbel been in Texas at the time of the power crisis, its appliance could’ve been able to tell in real time that energy use was going spike, and then reallocated power from an EV or other power sources to get through the blackout, Forget said.
Because dcbel’s technology connects battery storage and EV through one device, it plays a key role in electrification of the home, which “will be one of the most important trends in the next decade,” Coatue Management’s Jaimin Rangwalla said in an emailed statement.