SynapSense, which analyzes your data center's energy problems and tries to fix them, has raised $16 million in a third round as interest in green IT continues to grow.
The company essentially monitors weather patterns -- heat, pressure, moisture, etc. -- in data centers and then provides recommendations on how to curb power consumption and/or use it more effectively. Although Facebook, Yahoo, Hewlett-Packard and a few others have radically curbed power consumption in their data centers, many such facilities still have air conditioners that gobble up inordinate amounts of power. Sometimes, AC use can account for more than half of the power purchased. Sentilla has also graduated from basic monitoring to automatically controlling cooling systems.
Before this latest round, SynapSense had raised $25 million, which brings the total to $41 million. What does a relatively capital-efficient greentech company like SynapSense do with that kind of money? Probably go shopping. The data center management space is filled with a number of other companies and consolidation is inevitable.
CEO Pete Van Deventer told us last year about a customer that cut its data center power consumption by 10 percent. Another customer was able to garner a $750,000 rebate for retrofitting its data center and managed to cut operating expenses by another $750,000 per year.
"They had a two-month payback," he said. "We are getting into the big banks and tech companies."
Plus, many of the mid-size outfits like SynapSense have some, but not all, of the tools that datacenter managers want. Power Assure, for instance, can monitor and manage power consumption with servers and IT equipment. Sentilla, Vigilent and SynapSense mostly concentrate on air conditioners. Customers want the whole megillah. SynapSense thus will likely try to buy some small outfits to pad its portfolio before Oracle, IBM or HP in turn gobble it up. (This is a movie once saw.)
CrossLink Capital became an investor in this round. Previous investors include Nth Power, General Electric and Bosch.
--A trio of congressional representatives from both sides of the aisle want to revive the PACE program for retrofits under the PACE Protection Act of 2011. Using PACE, consumers can retrofit their homes for efficiency and pay off the loan through a supplement on their tax bill. Although several states passed PACE programs and Vice President Joe Biden personally championed PACE as a way to get contractors back to work, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac disapproved. The quasi-public agencies worried that such programs would impair the security interest of mortgage holders. (Mortgage holders: you know, those people who are fending off charges for wrongful foreclosure.) The objections effectively killed PACE.
We'd love to see PACE revived. Homes consume about 20 percent of all energy in the U.S. and a good portion of the heating and cooling goes right out the chimney. Congress, however, is in a testy mood and not a lot gets passed these days.
--Toyota has confirmed it will come out with an all-electric RAV4 next year. The car will run on battery packs from Tesla Motors, further cementing a tight relationship between those two companies.
--LED lights aren't just for huge metropolises. Cape Girardeau in Missouri has cut the power needed for its streetlights in half with LEDs. Dialight, a company that got its start making lights for the RAF in WW II, makes the LEDs.
--The EPA and Michael Dell are going to make some sort of announcement on electronic recycling, a sector that is growing by leaps and bounds.