Rachio announces a new smart sprinkler controller, raises $10M

Rachio, the company that builds WiFi controllers for your garden sprinklers (think Nest Thermostat, but for watering your plants instead of heating your house), is back with a new one. They’ve also raised $10M in a Series B round.

So what’s new in this Gen 3 version?

  • A new hardware design, which the company tells me is meant to feel “sort of like an MP3 player”
  • 5ghz WiFi support (in addition to the existing 2.4ghz support)
  • Support for a new Flow Meter that the company says will ship in May, allowing the Rachio to know exactly how much water it’s putting out and do things like detect leaks in your sprinkler system. If a leak is detected, the Rachio knows to shut off the water.
  • Expanded support for more types of sprinkler systems
  • Support for a new version of Rachios “Weather Intelligence” system that uses data from satellites and weather stations to help auto-determine your garden’s watering schedule. The company says this version is more accurate, promising weather accuracy to within 36 feet of the controller.

This next version goes up for pre-order today, with units shipping sometime in April. They’re shipping two slightly different variants: one that supports 8 different zones (read: places you want to water at varying times or schedules) for $249, or one with 16-zones for $299. Bundled with their new flow meter, those prices get bumped up to $279/$329 respectively.

The company declined to disclose how many Rachios had been sold to date thus far, but did tell me that it was somewhere in the six-figure range.

According to Crunchbase, Rachio had raised ~$10.5M prior to this, so this round effectively doubles their funding to date. Investors in this round included Eastside Partners, Bonaventure Capital, and Amazon’s Alexa Fund.