By Jeff Bounds | Senior Staff Writer, Dallas Business Journal
EnTouch CEO Greg Fasullo
EnTouch Controls Inc., a Richardson maker of systems that small businesses can use to manage their energy use, plans to roughly double its 15-person staff in the next year after raising a $2 million round of venture financing.
The money from Dallas-based Trailblazer Capital will take EnTouch to cash-flow positive, according to Greg Fasullo, EnTouch’s CEO. That means the business will generate more cash than it consumes. “This should be our one round of funding,” Fasullo said. “We may do additional rounds” if acquisitions come into play.
EnTouch, which began generating revenue this year, plans to bring aboard 15 to 20 new hires in the next 12 months, Fasullo said. With 15 employees at the moment, EnTouch will be adding engineers and sales and marketing staffers. Fasullo did not reveal salary ranges, but said the positions were "high-paying jobs".
The venture financing will boost the rollout of the EnTouch Controls Energy Management System, which the company says has helped crate savings on energy bills of 20 percent or more in the field deployments. The rollout will involve spending on marketing and boosting sales channels among other things.
Installed with roughly 100 customers, EnTouch's system helps measure and control energy use by connecting with large appliances, lights and other devices. It includes a wireless device that business owners can use to replace conventional thermostats. The EnTouch technology allows, say, a restaurant to automatically turn off the heat or air conditioning in the middle of the night when nobody is present, and then get everything set at 72 degrees Fahrenheit when the crowds start coming in the next day.
It also can notify management of problems at the early stages, before they mushroom into something worse.
Entrepreneur Hady Aghili, a franchisee of Shell, Popeyes Louisiana Chicken and Sonic Drive-In, has received alerts of equipment failures at his franchise locations. That enabled Aghili to place a service call and fix the issues before he lost inventory. "It's working great," Aghili said of the EnTouch technology.
EnTouch's system starts at $1,000 for a small facility, and will run anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 for a midsize restaurant, Fasullo said. "there are 4 million commercial facilities smaller than 50,000 square feet," he said. "Ninety percent don't have an energy management system today."
Larger makers of energy management systems sell products that are "powerful, complicated, expensive and hard to use," he added.
The EnTouch system was in development for two years and was launched in early 2011. EnTouch will do roughly $1 million in revenue this year, that coming from sales of its products, along with engineering consulting services generally associated with installing the gear in customers' facilities and helping optimize their energy use.
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