Making rebates easier
Rebate Bus has developed software to help residents and businesses collect rebates for energy efficiency.
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Rebate Bus software accesses all available rebates and incentives in a market to make the process easier, and it’s especially helpful for multisite business locations, Pater explains. The database constantly monitors programs, products, and utilities to make accessing the rebates easy. It works behind the scenes with manufacturers, distributors, and contractors who, in turn, provide their services to business owners.
“We help customers understand the options and simplify the process to help bring down the upfront costs of an upgrade,” he adds. “By making the process seamless, business owners can experience the upgrade and achieve the energy savings.”
And that, he says, gives members a competitive edge.
“Let’s say company A gives you a bid and doesn’t mention a utility rebate or says you have to figure it out yourself. Company B not only tells you about the available rebates but also says it will handle all the documentation for you so all you have to do is realize the savings. Which company would you choose?”
Pater bootstrapped the startup with about $40,000 of his own money, and family members (his first investors) bought in, as well. An invitation to partake in the Ameren Accelerator in St. Louis — a joint venture between Ameren, a large utility company, the University of Missouri system, UMSL Accelerate, and Capital Innovators — provided the company with an additional $100,000 boost.
The unique startup, which has 14 full- and seven part-time employees, has signed on 30 members thus far. Pater hopes to grow that to 200 by the end of 2019. The company also maintains a St. Louis office.
“We offer members month-to-month deals and have no long-term contracts,” Pater says. “These are their businesses, and I want to earn their trust for the long term.”
Is the company profitable yet? “We’re ramen profitable,” he laughs, “meaning we’re thrifty and generating very small profits that get invested back into the company. I’d say we’re just about breakeven — and optimistic.”
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