June 29, 2021 // Entrepreneur, Partners Startup Spotlight – Ecobot CED recently spoke with Lee Lance, CEO & Co-founder of Ecobot, to explore what makes their platform so vital to natural resources consultants and their workflow. What does Ecobot do? The Ecobot platform facilitates a real-time connection between the field and the office, speeds accurate environmental reporting, and provides better information to civil engineers and planners. Ecobot saves the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) and Environmental consulting industries millions of dollars a year on the environmental permitting, planning, and construction workflow. How is Ecobot different than what came before? The pen and paper-driven environmental regulatory industry hasn’t changed much since its inception in the 1970s. Ecobot digitizes this industry and successfully submits thousands of wetland determination forms to the USACE each month. Compared to traditional techniques, the Ecobot solution provides companies with massive time savings and produces more accurate reporting. How can CED and the startup ecosystem help Ecobot? CED already has contributed and can continue to assist Ecobot in our growth by utilizing its robust network and broad connections throughout the Southeast and beyond. It’s not just that CED has connections to VCs, they get to know the startup and entrepreneurs’ vision first, so when they are making an introduction, it’s meaningful. The only thing better than a warm introduction is a meaningful, warm introduction. CED creates a positive feedback loop that helps us polish our pitch deck or better tell our story. During this self-reinforcing cycle, they become better equipped to talk about your startup to their network. Because of this relationship building, people respect their reputation and insights and not just their broad access to so many companies in so many spaces. Tell us about the Ecobot team. Ecobot was founded by myself and co-founder Jeremy Schewe, he’s the Eco, and I’m the bot. His background is in natural resources consulting, and mine is in building enterprise software. Hence, we can bring our career experience together to create something important and meaningful inside the industry in a delightful way. Jeremy is precisely like the end-user of our software, so our first customer is an internal one, which helps make sure we are doing this the right way. Our two founding engineers have worked with me for well over a decade at previous companies, and they have played an essential role in our ability to turn vision into product. The team at Ecobot is now ten-strong, and as members of this community, we’re excited to collaborate with our customers to create actual field and office efficiency. Q: What is your company’s next milestone? A: Our next milestone is to raise a series A round of financing, and we’ve already started conversations ahead of our end of this year goal. We’re at a point with the company where we have crystal clarity on our current product market. Our conversion rates from qualified sales lead to the customer are ahead of industry averages, reinforcing our product market fit. The next opportunity is to deploy more products for our current end users and the people they sit next to at their companies. What are the long-term goals for Ecobot? We believe the most impactful way to build a startup is first to nail a niche. It’s a concept that comes from authors Aaron Ross (Predictable Revenue) and Jason Lemkin (SaaStr), and following their ideas, we build, market, and sell against this niche, not the company’s broader vision. So everything we’ve done thus far is to market and sell our product to the specific wetlands niche. However, our vision is much grander. Environmental consultants both enable economic progress and protect natural resources — and many of these natural resources, like wetlands, for instance, are our best mitigation against the impacts of climate change. At scale, the Ecobot platform will more easily connect all field data to the office in real-time. Better science leads to smarter permitting, helps engineers solve problems faster, and ensures construction projects are built right the first time. If you are interested in learning more about Ecobot or how you can get support from CED for your startup, please reach out. We always enjoy our conversations with entrepreneurs!