Mojave wants to make air conditioning more sustainable. Check out the 12-slide pitch deck it used to raise a $12.5 million seed round.
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- A startup making air conditioning more sustainable has just raised a $12.5 million seed round.
- California-based Mojave secured backing from At One Ventures and Fifth Wall.
- We got an exclusive look at the 12-slide pitch deck it used to raise the funds.
A startup making air conditioning systems more efficient has just raised a $12.5 million seed round co-led by VC funds At One Ventures and Fifth Wall, which invests in real estate tech.
California-based Mojave has developed an air conditioning system that uses 50% less energy and 20% less refrigerant than existing systems, it claims. That means, in the face of rising temperatures, homes and offices can be cooled with less of an impact on the environment.
Founded in 2022 as a spin-out of the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Mojave hopes to solve what its CEO Philip Farese characterized as “neglected emissions.” While electric vehicles, renewable energy, and, historically, LED light bulbs have garnered attention, air conditioning accounts for nearly 4% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, Farese said, citing a 2022 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Xerox PARC, which housed Mojave at the time.
“That’s huge from a single application standpoint,” he said.
A heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system’s footprint is mainly split between the energy used to control the temperature and what it takes to remove humidity, the research found. It’s the latter that Mojave is tackling with its first product.
Vapour compression systems, which cool and dry air, have changed little since they were invented, Farese said. The way they are used means there is a lot of unnecessary cooling, making them neither cost nor energy efficient. Mojave’s system cools air and uses liquid desiccant, a high concentration salt solution, to extract water from it. The resulting cool, dry air is passed to the building while the desiccant is regenerated, or returned to its useful state, using heat that would otherwise be wasted.
The “big breakthrough” was finding a way to cool the desiccant with cool air, Farese said. This reduces the use of refrigerants and removes the need for external sources of heating or cooling.
It massively simplified the process, Farese said. This meant they could make the system smaller and more precise, so it can be programmed to the exact temperature and humidity a user wants, Farese said.
The startup is tackling the outdoor air system (DOAS) market, which refers to systems that precondition air coming into a building from outside. Its product can be dropped into existing HVAC infrastructure, Farese said. Its target end-users are schools, hospitals, and grocery stores, but there are a host of third parties and brokers DOAS’ are sold through, Farese said. The system, which also purifies air due to the desiccant’s properties, has a payback period of up to two years “in most climates”, he added.
Mojave will use the fresh funds to bolster its 25-strong team and roll out its go-to-market strategy. It is focused on growing commercial headcount as it looks to sell its first system in January 2024, having tested the design in the field. Mojave will serve the US market at launch, but long-term Farese is eyeing the whole “humidity belt” around the equator.
Xerox Ventures also participated in the round.
Check out the 12-slide deck it used to raise the funds: