With Nest, the smart thermostat startup founded by ex-Apple iPod chief Tony Fadell, seemingly getting closer to a UK launch, TechCrunch has learned that European competitor Tado has raised a further $2.6 million from previous backers Target Partners, and Shortcut Ventures.
The Munich, Germany-based startup plans to use the additional capital — building on the $2 million it’s thought to have previously raised — for further European expansion outside of its home market, and existing sales in Austria, and Switzerland. Our understanding is that this will include the UK where Tato already has around 100 beta testers, with sales also opening up to the rest of Europe, pegged for next month. It looks like the smart thermostat market is starting to heat up this side of the pond.
Tado differs from Nest in a number of ways. Firstly, unlike Nest it shuns any kind of built in screen, instead relying on accompanying iPhone and Android apps for almost all interaction. That isn’t just a UX-based design decision, it also reflects Tado’s other key differentiator.
Rather than taking a purely self-learning approach like Nest, or relying on preprogrammed timetables for when heating should come on or off, the system is geolocation-based so that it knows when each smartphone carrying resident is close to home and therefore the heating should be adjusted accordingly. Being Internet-connected, it takes into account local weather reports, too.
The Tado app also gets a neat update today, adding approximated heating costs so that users can keep an eye on what their eventual heating bill will look like. In addition, there’s a new visualisation feature to show when residents are close enough to the home for Tado to kick in the heating.
“Nest is called the learning thermostat and needs to be trained by the user over a period of at least one week. Tado in contrast starts to work immediately since it works on real time signals,” says the company. “Our control algorithms acutally start to make the whole space really smart. The focus is to use real time signals which come from the smartphone app or Internet weather data to adjust room temperatures.”
Of course, like Nest and others in the smart thermostat space, such as Latvia’s Istabai, the end goal is the same: to help a user save energy and therefore money through a much ‘smarter’ home heating system that also has the potential to bring greater comfort.
Now if that doesn’t leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy, I don’t know what will.
(The Tado Connector Kit can be bought with lifetime service for €299 or to rent for €8.25 on a monthly contract.)