Smart Home Energy Startup Span Raises $20M From Munich Re Ventures and Amazon Alexa Fund
Smart electrical panel startup Span has raised $20 million in a funding round from new investors Munich Re Ventures and the Alexa Fund. Span offers AI-powered energy monitoring and management at home and is adding Alexa integration and voice control to the Span Smart Panel in the wake of the new funding.
Span’s Smart Panel is designed to make tracking and adjusting energy usage easier and to entice homeowners to switch to clean energy sources. The device can tell exactly where energy is being used in a home, suggest ways to make it more efficient and make real-time adjustments to circuits and appliances through a smartphone app. Following the Alexa Fund’s investment, voice access to the information and controls via Alexa will be added. Span started shipping its smart panel this past summer but plans to use the new funding to extend the reach of its products to new customers.
“The upcoming decade will be about home electrification and accelerating the adoption of clean energy. It’s great to add investors that are aligned with our long-term vision and will help Span bring innovation to the energy and home service markets,” Span CEO Arch Rao said in a statement. “We see these Amazon Alexa voice controls as an important step in making consumers aware of their personal energy use and make controlling every aspect of their home more accessible and convenient.”
As more people expand their smart home networks, Alexa has started to explore its own take on energy management. The new Alexa energy dashboard offers to do so for home appliances at least. The dashboard displays the estimated energy used by devices connected to the voice assistant. Alexa massively expanded the list of potential smart home devices that can be monitored with a new API for manufacturers to connect their products to the dashboard. Lights, TVs, water heaters, thermostats, plugs, and switches can either tell Alexa how much energy they are using or allow the AI to estimate the amount using its own algorithms. However, Span offers a deeper level of control for home energy, integrating directly into the home at the root.
“As Amazon continues to expand its smart devices portfolio and home services business, we see Span’s energy control and automation as an important new area for innovation which will add value to our customers, Alexa Fund director Paul Bernard said in a statement.