Berlin-based proptech startup ecoworks has collected around €5 million in seed funding, from a consortium of venture capital firms and angel investors. The funds will be used to significantly refurbish the building stock in Germany and Europe, and make it carbon neutral.
The lead investors in this financing round were venture capital funds focused on real estate technology and sustainability: Surplus Invest, PropTech1 Ventures, and wi venture. In addition, a consortium of renowned business angels participated, including: Klaus Freiberg (former COO of Vonovia), Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss (SoundCloud co-founders), Christian Vollmann (“Business Angel of the Year” and founder of nebenan.de), Nicholas Neerpasch (founder of the building renovation platform Doozer), and Torben Schreiter (co-founder of Signavio).
ecoworks, founded in 2019, uses industrial pre-fabrication, digital processes, and highly efficient energy systems to modernize multi-family houses with up to four floors within a few weeks. In the EU, the market for modernisation is forecasted to increase from over €200 billion per year to over €650 billion by 2050. Over the entire life cycle, buildings are responsible for 40% of EU total energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions. In Germany alone, around 5 million residential units are located in multi-family houses which were built before 1978 and require modernization.
As a general contractor, ecoworks takes care of the entire modernization project, submits building and funding applications, organizes the work preparation and planning, and accompanies the execution by specialist companies on the building site – all at a pre-determined all-inclusive price. After the modernization, ecoworks will supply the buildings with energy for a period of 15 years as a heat service provider.
So how does it work exactly? The startup modernises the building envelope ‘energetically’, i.e. it renews the facade, roof, and windows and insulates the basement ceiling. It uses only factory-produced facade and roof elements, as well as pre-assembled building technology, overall reducing the amount of work required in a project by up to 80%. In a second step, the previously inefficient building is converted into a small, decentralized power plant by installing photovoltaic systems, as well as heat pumps and thermal reservoirs. The modernised buildings will then generate more energy than the occupants consume for heating, hot water, and electricity. After the whole process, ecoworks then feeds the surplus green energy into the public power grid.
Kristofer Fichtner, co-founder of ecoworks, commented on the financing round, “We are pleased that we have not only gained renowned investors, but thus also a wide range of diverse expertise. The capital raised will enable us to digitally integrate additional processes in our value chain to further increase our scalability – and to achieve our key company goal of saving megatons of CO2”.