Indow Sees Growth, International Distribution

Thermal window insert maker credits Oregon BEST's early support for ongoing growth

In 2010, Indow was a fledgling startup of barely three people and a prototype when CEO Sam Pardue attended Oregon BEST FEST, the Pacific Northwest's premier cleantech innovation conference. The company was developing a thermal window insert that could be pressed into place from the interior of a building, creating the equivalent of a double-pane window without the cost of window replacement.

Today, the company is seeing 100 percent annual growth rate. It has 35 employees at its Portland headquarters and more than 100 dealers in 37 U.S. states, three Canadian provinces, and the Bahamas. Its energy-saving window inserts also reduce noise by 50 percent, so Indow is seeing sales growth in the noise reduction market.

Pardue is quick to credit early support from Oregon BEST for Indow's growth, and he tracks that support all the way back to when he first attended Oregon BEST FEST in 2010.

It was at Oregon BEST FEST that Pardue met what he calls, “An amazing array of industry and academic players.”

One of those players was David Sailor, a mechanical engineering professor and Oregon BEST researcher who directs the Green Building Research Lab, a signature research facility of Oregon BEST located at Portland State University.

Indow window being pushed into placeThe connection clicked, and Pardue tapped the lab’s research capabilities to complete a range of acoustic, air flow, and thermal performance testing that showed the prototype, installed over a single-pane window, outperformed standard double-pane windows on air infiltration and sound transmission, and had almost the same R-Value. These results  gave Pardue’s fledgling company the data it needed to move to the next level.

Pardue teamed up with Sailor to apply for Early-Stage Investment Funding from Oregon BEST - funds awarded to industry-university teams in Oregon working to commercialize new clean technologies.

Pardue and Sailor received $73,000 from Oregon BEST to expand testing in the lab and add pilot deployments of Indow's windows at several sites where researchers monitored energy use, weather patterns, and cost savings for a year. 

The results of the pilot showed that installation of Indow's windows cuts energy costs by almost 20 percent, with half of that credited to the fact occupants no longer felt cool air near windows so didn't feel the need to turn up the heat.

“Winning the Early-Stage Investment Funding was another huge boost,” Pardue says. “We couldn’t have funded these pilots without the support from Oregon BEST, and the grant instantly added credibility to our story, both to the media and to investors.”

Indow's products work well for historic windowsOregon BEST also funded a summer internship at Indow. A PSU graduate student in geographic information systems helped the company create a zip code database of owner-occupied houses across the U.S. that have architecturally significant windows. These older homes, with old-growth window frames and rippling glass, are prime candidates for Indow, because owners are hesitant to replace the historic windows with new double panes.

"This helped us locate pockets of potential customers," Pardue says. "We can now zoom into any zip code and get demographic reports, including income energy expenditures, which helps us recruit dealers and target our marketing by zip code."

Indow cites the pilot study results with every prospective customer, and uses the zip code database to guide expansion and target marketing efforts.

"The early investment that Oregon BEST made in Indow continues to pay dividends to our company," Pardue says. "Every window insert we sell is like a little parachute on a freight train that's barreling toward a dark event horizon."

Indow is in the midst of Series B funding and has successfully raised nearly $1.2 million bringing the total outside investment in the company to $3.78 million.

 And the awards and accolades keep coming… 

Clearly, Indow is seeing success.