Fifth Wall Leads Sealed’s $16 Million Series B Round

Investment in residential energy efficiency and electrification company marks the Climate Technology fund’s first lead position

Graphic: Sealed

Recently, I had to do a minor renovation on my home: install a heat pump. I thought it would be as simple as a Google search. Little did I know, I’d end up combing through twenty or thirty websites, juggling finding reputable contractors with ones who were able to meet the unique needs of my property, or, even just people who would pick up the phone. One of the biggest pain points was not being able to conduct this process digitally. Most contractors’ websites are archaic, and almost everyone I wanted to work with required a phone call (and a subsequent game of phone tag). The project, which was supposed to be a quick-hit, kicked off in February. It’s now June and I’m still waiting on an installation.

My renovation story was a nightmare, but it’s anything but unique. Single-family homes in the United States are incredibly energy inefficient. In fact, roughly 20% of US energy-related greenhouse gas emissions come from heating, cooling, and powering households. If considered a country, these emissions would be the world’s sixth largest emitter, and larger than Germany. Common problems include windows that either leak or don’t close, and because many homes are built from wood, it’s not uncommon for them to be really poorly insulated. Add to that the fact that they typically have decades-old, fossil-fuel burning furnaces, and it’s easy to see why single family homes are such a massive contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Then there’s the adjacent problem, which is what I went through: not only are many of these houses in dire need of renovation, but the renovation process itself is a labyrinthine and quagmire; super slow, complicated to navigate, and an uphill battle at every step.

That’s why, today, I’m proud to announce that Fifth Wall has invested in Sealed, a home wellness company that’s designed to help make energy efficient renovations seamless, resulting in homes that are more healthy, comfortable, and sustainable. The company is the proverbial Easy Button for home comfort and sustainability. They’re a one-stop-shop to evaluate what upgrades make sense for your house, and then Sealed finds and corrals the various contractors required to perform the work; and you as the home owner don’t pay anything up front. And the cherry on top? Sealed stands behind its work, and only gets paid if its customers actually save energy.

This investment is the first that we are leading out of Fifth Wall’s Climate Technology fund, as part of a $16 million Series B round that also garnered participation from Robert Downey Jr.’s FootPrint Coalition Ventures, as well as returning backers Cyrus Capital and CityRock Ventures. In addition, I’m proud to join Sealed’s Board of Directors.

Streamlining a process traditionally known as a logistical nightmare

If you’ve ever embarked on a home renovation project, you know that it’s pretty standard to work with local Mom-and-Pop contractors. While these contractors might do great work, organizing them can be a logistical nightmare, more akin to herding cats. From the start, these contractors rarely have a digital presence. Their websites are poorly designed, and appointments often need to be made over the phone. Once you do get a hold of them, it may take months to complete your project — perhaps parts need to be ordered, or schedules aren’t lining up. And then there’s the issue of trying to coordinate multiple contractors, whose calendars and workflows may need to complement one another. And then on top of that, because these small contractors don’t have the clout to have strong relationships with banks, you as the customer may have to front them all the money. In a worst case scenario, organizing a home renovation can be a full-time job, and not any easy one at that.

That’s where Sealed comes in. All you have to do is visit its website, and complete a brief quiz to determine whether your home is eligible. Then you’ll get set up with a consultation, during which time Sealed will help you identify weak points in your house and design a solution using machine learning that predicts a home’s energy efficiency with up to 99% accuracy. Its machine learning algorithms combine a number of difficult-to-replicate datasets, including utility data, demographic information, home characteristics, and project improvement details in order to get to that level of never-before-seen accuracy.

From there, Sealed will coordinate any necessary renovations to your home, from getting a heat pump installed, or deploying smart home technology, to installation of better insulations, and properly caulking your windows. They tap into a network of pre-vetted contractors, eliminating the difficult process of researching local installers. This also streamlines business for contractors, who can then focus on what they do best without having to worry about getting acquainted with ever-evolving and costly marketing strategies.

Finally, Sealed offers a unique payment program. While typical installations cost as much as $30,000, Sealed covers all upfront costs for its customers. Instead, after installation, homeowners pay Sealed a monthly fee, based on the actual energy saved as a result of the project. Best of all, Sealed stands behind their work: if your house doesn’t save energy, Sealed doesn’t get paid. So as a homeowner, you can be sure that Sealed is aligned with making the maximal impact for your home’s comfort and the planet

Delivering a sustainable, energy efficient solution for residential real estate owners

As I mentioned earlier, Sealed is the first investment we’ve led out of our Climate Technology fund. It’s a compelling business to us for a few reasons. Most saliently, buildings account for about 40% of all greenhouse gases. There’s a common misconception that the highest number of emissions come from cars, but in reality, transportation (all transportation, including planes, ships, rail, trucks, and cars) is only about 23% of the problem. If we want to get to carbon zero by 2050, we first and foremost need to focus on making our buildings more sustainable.

Sealed is helping to tackle this problem by embarking on a quest to retrofit the US’ existing residential building stock and help them run more efficiently. Globally, there are $270 trillion worth of buildings, and the vast majority of them aren’t energy efficient. Many were built poorly, aren’t well-insulated, and utilize out-of-date appliances. This presents both a massive investment opportunity and a massive decarbonization opportunity.

Sealed also stood out to us because of its incredible leadership. Overall, this is a space with a dearth of consumer-experts. Co-founder and CEO Lauren Salz is laser-focused on the consumerization of this tech, making incredible strides in the ease of the process for Sealed’s customers. And somehow, she’s managed to juggle guiding the company through this phase of growth and a fundraising cycle, all while becoming a new mom. Andy Frank, her co-founder and President, brings over twelve years of energy efficiency experience to bear.

The longer term vision for Sealed is to expand into new markets, like Texas, which recently experienced both significant grid issues during inclement winter weather and a crisis of poorly insulated homes.

Overall, residential home renovation is a space with incredible potential that we’ve never been able to realize, because so far it’s been fragmented and underserviced. As the US residential real estate market continues to sizzle, there is a massive opportunity for those who can develop sustainable solutions for a broken process, all while delivering cost savings to the consumer. We see not only incredible potential in Sealed, but the sector at large.

This post is presented for informational purposes only, is not intended to recommend any investment, and is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any current or future investment vehicle managed or sponsored by Fifth Wall Ventures Management, LLC or its affiliates (collectively, “Fifth Wall”; any such investment vehicle, a “Fund”). Any such solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest will be made by a definitive private placement memorandum or other offering document.

Forward-looking statements and opinions as to carbon reduction initiatives and real estate markets or any other matters, as expressed in this presentation, are those of the individual presenters, but are not necessarily the views of Fifth Wall as a firm, and cannot constitute a guarantee of future success or profitable results. As a result, investors should not rely on such forward-looking statements and/or opinions, or on anything else contained in this post, in making their investment decisions. Moreover, certain information contained herein may have been obtained from published and non-published sources prepared by other parties and may not have been updated through the date hereof. While such information is believed to be reliable for the purposes for which it is used herein, Fifth Wall does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of such information, and such information has not been independently verified by Fifth Wall. This presentation speaks as of its publication date, and Fifth Wall undertakes no obligation to update any of the information herein.

In addition, in considering any prior performance information contained in this post, prospective investors should bear in mind that past results are not necessarily indicative of future results, and there can be no assurance that any Fund will achieve results comparable to those of any prior or existing Fund or portfolio investment of Fifth Wall.

None of the information contained herein has been filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, any securities administrator under any state securities laws or any other domestic or foreign governmental or self-regulatory authority. No such governmental or self-regulatory authority has passed or will pass on the merits of the offering of interests in any Fund or the adequacy of the information contained herein. Any representation to the contrary is unlawful.

This communication is intended only for persons resident in jurisdictions where the distribution or availability of this communication would not be contrary to applicable laws or regulations. Any products mentioned in this post may not be eligible for sale in some states or countries. Prospective investors should inform themselves as to the legal requirements and tax consequences of an investment in a Fund within the countries of their citizenship, residence, domicile and place of business.

No assurances can be given that any of the carbon reduction initiatives or other initiatives described in this presentation will be implemented or, if implemented, will be successful in effecting carbon reductions or any other initiatives. Further, no assurances can be given that any Fifth Wall fund or investment vehicle will ultimately be established to invest in these technologies or that such fund or investment vehicle, if established, will successfully identify and execute on investments that meet its stated objectives. Investments targeting carbon emission reductions involve substantial risks and may not ultimately meet Fifth Wall’s stated investment objectives. Investors should consult their own financial, tax, legal and other advisors in connection with any proposed investment and should carefully review all disclosures and descriptions of risk factors that are contained in relevant offering materials.

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INSIGHTS is the official blog of Fifth Wall Ventures, exploring the Built World’s biggest ideas, emerging trends and the most audacious concepts transforming the ways we live, work, sleep, consume, move, create, connect and play.

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Greg Smithies

Greg Smithies

Investor in Climate Tech, Sustainability, Robotics, AI, Software, and Sustainability applied to Unsexy Industries

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