Solar Universe — a company building a franchise of solar installers across North America — raised a $7 million series b investment led by RockPort Capital, the company announced today. Abe Yokell, a principal with RockPort is joining the Livermore, California company’s board.
The founder and chief executive of Solar Universe, Joe Bono, said he was able to lock in the investment because: “Unlike our competitors, [our business] requires very little capital to scale, a fact that we have proven by consistently performing to plan, and achieving our goals quarter after quarter.”
Solar Universe competitors, like The 2010 Best Clean Tech Crunchies Award, generate revenue directly from customers, providing services like: energy efficiency audits for homes, project quotes, solar power systems design, financing help, installation and monitoring.
Much like any other franchise, 7-Eleven to Ritz Carlton, Solar Universe generates revenue instead by getting would-be business owners to pay a franchise fee, and then set up shop under its brand umbrella. The company in turn helps franchisees train, generate leads, market their services, distribute solar products, attain financing help for solar projects that their customers want, and provides software to manage their businesses. But the end-product is delivered by the franchisee, which can make quality control a challenge in general.