Millions of buildings in Germany need to be renovated to make them more energy efficient. Investors assume that Emanuel Heisenberg's Berlin startup Ecoworks will particularly benefit.

Ecoworks founder Emanuel Heisenberg. Yes, that's right: He is the grandson of Werner Heisenberg, physicist and inventor of quantum mechanics.

It is estimated that almost eight million buildings will have to be renovated in a climate-friendly manner in Germany alone in the next few years. The background is a new EU directive: According to this, all residential properties should have at least energy efficiency class “D” by 2033, i.e. consume a maximum of 130 kilowatt hours of electricity per square meter per year. If this is not the case, individual buildings risk no longer being able to be rented or sold.

Owners of large existing properties such as apartment buildings in particular are under pressure because their properties are often decades old and not very energy efficient. This means: Roofs need to be better insulated, facades need to be renewed and modern heating systems installed. This costs money, but also nerves: renovation is time-consuming and there is a lack of skilled workers in many places.

This is also the problem that Emanuel Heisenberg describes to investors. Heisenberg is the founder of the startup Ecoworks and hopes to benefit from the renovation backlog. The Berlin company advertises that it can quickly renovate housing estates and prefabricated buildings through serial production. Heisenberg promises that 80 percent of the work will be done inexpensively by robots in factories. Ecoworks then assembles the finished panels, which also include windows and ventilation, on the building within a few days. “It’s like a second skin that’s put around the house,” Heisenberg then explains to potential backers. He is aiming for sales of one billion euros by 2027.

“Currently the best answer on the market”

In order to enable the necessary growth, Ecoworks received a capital injection of 22 million euros in the summer. In addition to the existing Berlin investor Proptech1 Ventures, the US backers Zacua Ventures and Blackhorn Ventures took part in the financing round. The medium-sized company Warema from Lower Franconia, which specializes in building technology, is also part of the shareholder group.

Ecoworks boss Heisenberg did not want to comment on the assessment when asked by Gründerszene. In the company environment, however, there was talk of a sum in the millions “on the verge of double to triple digits”.

Update from December 14, 2023: At the end of the year, Ecoworks was able to raise money again. A further 40 million euros went into the company account. The World Fund took the lead in Series A. Haniel, Kompas VC and ISAI were also invested. The financing round was three times oversubscribed, said Heisenberg in the official announcement about the round. Since Ecoworks was founded in 2018, almost 65 million euros have flowed into the startup.

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The World Fund, based in Berlin, invests in startups with great potential to save emissions in the field of climate technology. The decision to lead the financing round is based on the CO2 emissions that can be saved through the renovation of the existing building: Ecoworks wants to save more than one gigaton of CO2 by 2045. For comparison: The Federal Environment Agency states that the EU caused around 3.5 gigatons of greenhouse gases in 2021. Germany accounted for around 0.7 gigatons.


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