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Renovate is building roof-shingle robots

Roofing isn’t glamorous. It meets the three Ds of automation—dull, dirty, and dangerous—with ease. Some smart roboticists could transform it. It’s always one of the most dangerous construction jobs, but there are a lot of roofs in the world, so everyone who wants one should have one.

At launch, Renovate Robotics will install asphalt and solar shingles. This morning, Alley Robotics Ventures, SOSV’s HAX, Newlab, Uphonest Capital, and Climate Capital announced a $2.5 million pre-seed investment in the startup.

“We love backing ambitious founders who tackle real problems,” Alley Managing Partner Abe Murray says. “Renovate’s solution will reduce roofing danger and eventually enable large-scale solar shingle deployment.”

HAX Associate/Analyst Dylan Crow went from VC to Renovate COO.

“I’ve seen a lot of hard tech startups go through steep inflection points from the inside during my time at SOSV, and the ones that I was always most drawn towards were climate-focused,” Crow tells . I see the same in Renovate Robotics’ vision. Andy, my co-founder, is a great engineer and leader who can get us to market. There’s such a great fit between us, and I have a deep gut feeling about the jump.”

Crow co-founded the company. Renovate co-founder Andy Stulc, a mechanical engineer, has 12 years of robotics experience.

Company robots use winches. The roof-tethered robot installs shingles in a gantry-like X and Y pattern. Renovate plans to monetize the technology while improving the system.

Crow says, “We’ll work directly with roofing contractors and initially help them complete jobs as a subcontractor. “This is a typical construction relationship” (contractors giving jobs to other subcontractors). We’ll then switch to RaaS and lease our robots to trained contractors who can operate the system on site.”

A human operator monitors progress and replaces shingles. Crow adds, “There will always be a few workers onsite for setup, monitoring, and material reloading. Remote monitoring is not our goal. However, we will store and integrate this data into other feature sets (like insurance provider installation validation).

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