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Where are they now? Startup Battlefield participant Valor Water raises $1.6M

TechCrunch TechCrunch 14/06/2016 Samantha O'Keefe

Faced with droughts and an increasing environmental effort in America to conserve water, utility companies have struggled to keep their financial houses in order in light of reduced usage. One former Startup Battlefield competitor — Valor Water — hopes to help these companies get back on track.

Valor Water provides utilities with easy to use software tools with to inform revenue decision-making. Their suite of services include a Cutoff Analyzer to reduce unnecessary service cutoffs, a Water Rate Simulator that visualizes the impact of rate changes, a S.M.A.R.T. Targets system that helps identify and communicate with water wasters and a Hidden Revenue Locator that looks for water loss and leaks in the system.

That information is invaluable for utilities who face the challenge of decreasing revenue as consumers save water. Equipped with Valor’s tools, utilities can think more creatively about pricing, for example, targeting rate hikes at those who are wasting water, rather than an across-the-board rate hike which effectively punishes those who are conserving water appropriately.

Valor Water was one of the handful of companies to participate in the Startup Battlefield competition at Disrupt SF 2014.

Company founder and CEO Christine Boyle tells TechCrunch that the Battlefield “was an amazing experience and launched Valor Water Analytics onto the world technology stage.” Boyle added that “the exposure to investors, the technology community and media outlets propelled our company to the next level, [and] this exposure put us on the map for top investors, including Y Combinator.”

Since Disrupt, the company has grown significantly, deploying to seven utility clients in three states, including one gas utility. Not surprisingly, early customers come from California, Florida and Georgia, all of which have or have had significant water shortages in recent years.

Valor’s monitoring and analytics currently cover 250,000 meters for their client, and deals are in place to expand that number to over 2 million meters by the end of 2017. To date, the company has helped utilities save over 3 million gallons of water and recover over $7 million in lost revenue.

And investors have been taking notice. Following their participation in YC’s Winter 2015 class, Valor recently closed a $1.6 million seed round from Shore Ventures II, Apsara Capital, Syzygy West, Urban Innovation Fund and 500 Startups.

The newly raised funding round will allow Valor Water to expand the business to a broader swath of the US water market as well as expand into new utility verticals, such as gas, to provide similar financial services. On the technology front, Valor is looking to move beyond relying primarily on meter date and pursue sensor-based technologies.

If you think you have what it takes, apply now for the Startup Battlefield at Disrupt SF 2016, which takes place September 12-14 at San Francisco’s Pier 48. Applications close on June 23 at 9pm PT.

There are no fees to participate in the Startup Battlefield. Selected companies also receive free demo space in Startup Alley, tickets to VIP events, a Battlefield-only reception and, of course, TechCrunch swag. Prior to the event, startups work with TechCrunch editors to hone and polish their pitches.

All verticals are welcome, including biotech, security, supercomputing, e-commerce, on-demand services, battery technology, mobile consumer, healthcare, bitcoin, hardware and the next big thing in dev tools.

Though the event is in San Francisco, we encourage startups from around the U.S. to apply. We’re not looking for the best startups in our backyard. We’re looking for the best startups period.

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