Johnson City’s SMTI completes $15 million Series A round, launches commercial brand
By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Michael Garrabrant and the team at Stone Mountain Technologies Inc. (SMTI) have reason to celebrate after closing a $15 million Series A round led by Energy Impact Partners (EIP) that moves the Johnson City-headquartered company into product commercialization.
“We are just really excited to now be able to bring our unique products, which will allow our customers to significantly reduce their heating bills and carbon footprint, to the market,” Garrabrant told us in an email. “We have built a really strong team that is well prepared to execute our plan, and the impact of having an international investment partner like Energy Impact Partners cannot be overstated. The outside investment from the east coast in high-tech manufacturing is a big win for Northeast Tennessee.”
In April 2019, Garrabrant, who founded SMTI and serves as its Chief Executive Officer, told us for this teknovation.biz article that “we can see a light at the end of the tunnel, but we still have a lot of work to do.” Then, in July 2021, the company announced that Enbridge Inc., a leading North American energy infrastructure company, had invested $4 million in Canadian dollars in the late stage start-up. That funding provided key support for SMTI’s final steps toward the market release of its Thermally Driven Heat Pump (TDHP) technology that was planned for 2022.
The Series A round fulfills that goal to commercialize a new generation of highly energy efficient heating products that can reduce residential and commercial building heating bills and carbon emissions by as much as 50 percent . SMTI’s approach relies on the new design applied to a long-proven heat-pump technology. It also maintains complete end user comfort, even if outside temperatures drop as low as minus 40 degrees – all without needing a backup energy source.
SMTI’s initial product offering, manufactured and marketed in North America under the AnesiTM brand, will feature a gas furnace and water heater replacement for single family homes, and gas water heater replacement for commercial applications. It has been demonstrated to save 30 to 50 percent of the energy, cost, and greenhouse gas emissions compared to current gas appliances, and requires no infrastructure upgrades to the home. With economic paybacks expected to be in the three- to six-year range depending on local conditions, the product’s ease of installation and strong comfort to the homeowner have already received strong positive reactions from HVAC (heating, ventilation and air condition) contractors.
For Garrabrant (pictured at right in company photo), who founded SMTI in 2008 nearly eight years before we published our first teknovation.biz article, it’s been a long journey as he worked methodically to successfully develop and demonstrate the technology in homes and businesses all over North America over the past decade. He credits organizations like the U.S. Department of Energy, GTI Energy, California Energy Commission, Natural Gas Innovation Fund, energy utilities, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, and private industry for their strong support.
“Decarbonization of space and water heating loads is very difficult using electrification without increasing end user utility costs and a massive infrastructure build-out that will take decades to achieve, if at all,” Garrabrant said. “We are very excited about the potential of our family of heating products to offer immediate CO2 emission reductions while decreasing costs for our customers, in addition to providing a credible path to net-zero as the gas grid decarbonizes over the next decade.”
EIP brings together entrepreneurs and the world’s most forward-looking energy and industrial companies to advance innovation. With more than $3 billion in assets under management, EIP invests globally across venture, growth, credit, and infrastructure – and has a team of about 80 professionals based in its offices in New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, Palm Beach, London, Cologne, and Oslo.
“EIP is proud to be leading the Series A financing round for Stone Mountain Technologies Inc.,” said Jim Laurito, Operating Partner for the firm who will be joining SMTI’s Board of Directors. “We believe that SMTI’s innovative gas absorption heat pump is a game-changing technology for heating and hot water, providing low cost and high efficiency. We are extremely bullish on the upside potential for CEO Michael Garrabrant and his organization,”