Chai is building products that give consumers a simple and mobile way to understand and reduce their energy use up to 20%. Leveraging these consumer products, Chai will provide multiple services for utility companies including customer engagement, behavioral energy efficiency, and interactive demand response.
Customers have little understanding of why their utility bills are high, and of what is going on in their homes. Chai offers an insightful yet simple way to see which appliances are running, when, and how much each is costing them right on their mobile phone.
Chai is building two products initially. The first gives homeowners a simple yet detailed understanding of their energy use. The second offer homeowners monetary based incentives to reduce their energy use on days when electricity costs utilities an arm and a leg. These products lie squarely in the smart-grid sector manifested as a consumer facing product.
Clean Tech Proof Points
Real-time, highly intelligent, patentable technology
Pilot program underway at Caltech
Expressed interest from utilities
Chai’s two most direct competitors (Bidgely and Plotwatt) have existed for over a year, yet their products are not real-time. They provide a breakdown of your energy use one time, and after the fact. Chai is the first company deploying a real-time energy understanding application, with fundametally different technology.
In addition, Chai’s demand-response product is the first of its kind being developed and is believed will give Chai a significant advantage upon 3rd party validation and market penetration.
Cole Hershkowitz – CEO
Cole graduated from Caltech with a BS in Mechancial Engineering after learning to think more broadly in Oberlin College’s 3-2 enginereing (BA) program. Cole led the Caltech’s Solar Decathlon Computing Innovation team. The Solar Decathlon is a Department of Energy sponsored competition in which schools build architecturally inspiring and technically innovative homes. Cole’s Computing Innovation team sought out to redefine the way homeowner’s interact with their homes and understand their energy use. The home could be controlled through simple gestures in addition to an intuitive iPad. He hopes to bring these concepts to the market through entrepreneurship. Cole served as the president of Caltech’s entrepreneurship club (eClub) and he has worked as a Campus Associate for Alsop-Louie Partners, screening deals, sourcing startups, and identifying hot trends for the venture capital firm. Until recently Cole worked at Southern California Edison architecting data networks, testing smart-devices, and learning about software architecture. About three months ago Cole left his title at Edison to found and lead Chai, an early stage startup looking to reinvent the way homeowners understand their energy use.
Ka Suen – CTO
Ka Suen graduated with a Bachelor in Physics at the California Institute of Technology in 2012. Over the past few years he has spent a lot of time in lab and designing experiments and analyzing large amounts of data. While that has its own rewards, he believes that it is much more rewarding to tackle real world problems. As such, he joined the Solar Decathlon team and created an algorithm for automatically predicting the solar generation, assuming basic information about the solar array as well as its location. He also helped develop a new gesture based interface for controlling home appliances. He is now at Chai working on algorithms capable of predicting a homeowners electricity. As CTO and cofounder of the company he aims to bring real time energy monitoring and response to homes.
LaunchU 2014 Venture