EMeter Corp. has landed $32 million to boost its smart meter data management software business and new home energy management platform.
The San Mateo, Calif.-startup on Wednesday announced the investment from Sequoia Capital and existing investor Foundation Capital. It adds to $25 million eMeter had previously raised, including a Series A round in April 2007 led by Foundation Capital and DBL Investors and an April 2008 Series B round led by Siemens (NYSE: SI).
With about 24 million meters under contract, eMeter is an emerging leader in the business of making software to manage the flood of data coming from the smart meters being deployed by the tens of millions across the world (see 8.3M Smart Meters and Counting in U.S.).
Its customers include Southern California Edison, which plans to install 5.3 million smart meters, and CenterPoint Energy, which plans to install two million meters, as well as Alliant Energy, Toronto Hydro and other utilities (see eMeter: Data-Keeper For the Smart Grid).
It has plenty of competitors, including startup Ecologic Analytics, which has projects underway with Oncor and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. Smart meter makers like Itron and Sensus also make their own meter data management software, and enterprise software giants SAP and Oracle have announced their own plans to delve into the business as well (see Oracle Launches 'End-to-End' Smart Grid Software and Integrating the Smart Meter Universe).
Last month, eMeter entered another smart grid field that's even more crowded with the launch of its Energy Engage platform – a web-based system for homeowners to track and cut down on their energy use. The system is now being tested in about 1,400 Washington, D.C. homes served by utility Pepco in a pilot project called PowerCents DC (see eMeter Intros Home Energy Platform).
Energy Engage will be competing against dozens of startups offering software and hardware to manage home energy use - Tendril Networks, EnergyHub, Energate, Control4, Greenbox Technology, Onzo, AlertMe and OpenPeak are some of them – as well as emerging offerings from Google, Microsoft and Cisco (see stories here, here and here).
According to eMeter CEO Cree Edwards, his company may have a leg up on the competition by virtue of the fact that its home energy platform is integrated with its meter data management.
That could make it easier for utilities to manage programs considered the next step in smart meter deployments. For example, he said, utilities could send price signals to customers meters that charge more money for power used during peak demand times – and then monitor how much energy those customers cut back on using to figure out how much power the utility needs to deliver.
Edwards wouldn't disclose eMeter's revenues or whether it was profitable, but said that Wednesday's $32 million investment should carry it through the foreseeable future.
"One of the reasons we raised so much money this time is so we won't have to do it again," he said.
While eMeter has done all its business in North America to date, it is now eyeing new projects in Europe, he added. While he wouldn't disclose specifics, he said eMeter is working in northern Europe and the United Kingdom.
U.S. utilities have slowed down on their smart meter plans as they wait to see how the Department of Energy will give out $3.9 billion in stimulus grants for smart grid projects, a constraint that hasn't taken place in Europe, he said (see DOE Hands Out $47M for Smart Grid Demos).
EMeter's joint development and supply agreement with German engineering giant Siemens may also yield new projects in the near future, including a Siemens-led deal in the United States to be announced some time next week, Edwards added.
Siemens doesn't make smart meters, but is involved in many other parts of the electricity generation and distribution system, from power generation equipment, transformers and other distribution equipment to appliances, he noted.
Siemens has so far been relatively quiet in terms of its smart grid ambitions, but could soon begin a new push into the space, according to a recent article from Jesse Berst, head of smart grid consulting firm Global Smart Energy.
Dave Pacya, senior vice president with Siemens Energy's North American transmission and distribution divisions, told Greentech Media that the company's areas of interest include high-voltage direct current transmission systems, distribution automation systems and integrating renewable energy sources like wind and solar power into the grid.