Seedfunders, a St. Petersburg-based investment group, has committed $500,000 to Polar Controller Inc., a Jacksonville startup with patented smart technology for the cooling industry.
The company produces hardware and develops software to monitor commercial HVAC and refrigeration equipment. It says its technology can detect potential problems, identify the cause of system breakdowns, and apply predictive data analytics to prevent equipment failure and cut energy consumption.
“Polar Controller is an ideal investment for SeedFunders. It meets all of our criteria as a Florida pre-revenue technology company that solves a problem,” said David Chitester, Seedfunders co-founder and CEO.
Chitester said the Polar Controller founders “are great partners and are eager to tap into our expertise to help them move forward.”
The Seedfunders’ money, which will be paid in a series of tranches over several months, is the first professional investment for Polar Controller, said Freddie Zeringue, president. His son, Kaleb Zeringue, who is CEO, bootstrapped Polar Controller for several years, using proceeds from a separate commercial refrigeration company he owns. The company got a small loan from an investor that it has since repaid and raised equity from friends and family before going to Seedfunders for a seed round, Zeringue said.
The new funding will be used to beef up inventory, for sales and to further develop the next generation of monitoring systems, he said.
Polar Controller has several pilot installations underway, with the projects designed to show customers there is significant return on their investment. At one pilot installation, a high-end pet spa, the company is converting what was a single installation at one building into 42 installations at other company properties.
Historically, the cooling industry has lagged other sectors in using connected technology, according to an investment report. Monitoring technology did not exist and businesses operated on a reactive model, fixing equipment after it malfunctioned.
Polar Controller, with a proactive approach, “is so unique, it’s hard to get people to try it,” Zeringue said. “That’s why out pilots are so important.”
His biggest concern is getting through the doors of midsize to larger companies. “We know if we can get in we can save them thousands of dollars per month per building.”
He wants people in the HVAC and refrigeration industry to understand Polar Controller’s business model. “”We make their job more efficient and thereby make them more profitable,” he said.
The company said its products reduce energy consumption, greenhouse gases, and the damaging environmental effects that have plagued the cooling industry over the past century.