Bidgely closed a $16.6 million Series B round on Tuesday to expand its HomeBeat energy management platform.
Constellation Technology Ventures, which is part of Exelon Corporation, led the round. European utility investors E.ON and RWE also joined in the round with existing investor Khosla Ventures.
Bidgely is best known for its disaggregation software offering customers appliance-level energy consumption data, which it collects by analyzing the unique energy-use patterns of individual devices.
Disaggregating data is just one offering in a range of services, said Bidgely CEO Abhay Gupta. The company also provides actionable information based on that data, depending on what a particular utility is trying to achieve. Bidgely only needs smart meter data to perform the disaggregation, but it has also built an energy monitor as part of its HomeBeat offering that allows for more granular data collection.
The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based startup has about 20 large utility clients, some of which are in pilots, including ComEd, TXU and London Hydro.
The $16.6 million will be used to scale the company's European presence. Smart meter rollouts have been slower in Europe than in the U.S., but they are coming. As part of the investment, both E.ON and RWE are piloting Bidgely's technology. The startup hopes that having an early foot in the door will allow it to scale contracts as more meters are deployed.
Late last year, E.ON announced it was spinning off its customer-facing and renewables businesses and selling off its fossil-fuel assets. As that new customer-centric company emerges next year, it will surely be looking to have some differentiated offerings. RWE has also been looking toward Silicon Valley for technology solutions as it restructures its business.
In the U.S., Bidgely is already helping one energy retailer hold on to customers with value-add services. In Texas, TXU is using Bidgely’s cloud-based platform to offer better mobile and online energy management tools to its 1.5 million residential customers.
For years, TXU had a homegrown energy dashboard, but last year it chose Bidgely for the contract. Bidgely provides basic services such as bill alerts, as well as push notifications when certain appliances are consuming more energy than usual.
For now, the bulk of Bidgely’s business is with regulated utilities in North America. Exelon, which owns Constellation and ComEd, said it sees the potential to expand Bidgely as part of its competitive and regulated utility businesses.
“Investment in us is a validation they want more consumer-centric programs,” Gupta said of the funding by Constellation.
ComEd has been piloting Bidgely’s HomeBeat offerings, which comes with a monitor that acts as a gateway between the smart meter and the internet. Gupta said ComEd is moving beyond the initial pilot phase, but did not offer more detail about how much the program might scale.
The monitor allows Bidgely to disaggregate data in real time. Utility smart-meter data is often logged every hour, or at best, every 15 minutes. With the energy monitor, Bidgely can collect data every few seconds.
By gathering more granular and real-time data, Bidgely says it could also offer safety services such as notifying a customer if an electric oven has been left on for longer than usual.
Some of Exelon’s largest utilities are investing heavily in novel consumer offerings. Baltimore Gas & Electric, for instance, has the largest behavioral demand response offering in the U.S. BGE uses Opower to tap more than 1 million customers for its Smart Energy Rewards program.
While Opower and Bidgely compete head-to-head for some contracts, there are other situations where their offerings could be complementary, said Gupta.