Carbon management. It's so 2008.
Carbonetworks, which originally targeted its software to large corporations primarily as a way to navigate cap and trade and other environmental regulations, has been turning toward the broader mandate of helping corporations analyze, manage and curb power, gas and water consumption.
As part of that transition, it has a new CEO -- Oracle alum Beatriz Infante -- and a new name: ENXSuite. To help pay for those capital letters, the company is in the midst of raising another round of capital. So far, ENXSuite has raised more than $10 million, Infante said.
"We have already shifted. Our customers have pulled us there," she said. "Some customers [use the software] to actively manage carbon credits, but in the U.S., we don't have cap and trade."
Founder and former CEO Michael Meehan, a Canadian entrepreneur who can tell you hair-raising tales about visiting the tar sands, becomes the CTO.
The move underscores the mad dash among large software vendors and startups to provide energy and resource management tools to corporations. Because power was fairly inexpensive until a few years ago, most corporations didn't spend ample amounts of energy or time trying to optimize their operations for efficiency. Legislation, public relations, and rising costs have changed that. Now, different operating units within companies have to include their fraction of utility bills in their budgets, and many companies tie executive compensation in part to bonuses. Companies like EPS provide tools and services to industrial customers, while a big part of the market focuses on office buildings.
"Energy as a resource to manage is one of the last highly data-intensive areas left," Infante said.
ENXSuite's software -- like some of the software from competitors -- works on a variety of levels. It can be deployed to track and subsequently manage power consumption. The software, she added, delves below the macro level to identify particular appliances consuming inordinate amounts of power.
The data, she added, can also be mined to devise capital and infrastructure changes. Should a company replace all of the lights in 1,000 commercial office buildings or more aggressively pursue virtualization in ten data centers and across its desktops? ENXSuite can apply analytical tools to historical data and computer models to help determine the answer.
Who will win? It's hard to say. Oracle, IBM and SAP have already entered the field and will likely try to buy growing startups. But, unlike solar or transportation or even smart grid, the capital requirements for software startups are low and history shows that once-small upstarts -- Google, Salesforce -- can survive their formative years. In other words, expect to see old names, but don't be surprised by the emergence of new ones.
ENXSuite can name the Sears Group, Northrup Grumman, Morgan Stanley and the City of Chicago as clients. Rival Hara can count Coca-Cola and Safeway as customers, while EnerNoc, moving into building management, does work for Morgan Stanley, as well.
Infante isn't just the latest in a long line of IT executives to move into green -- she's also the latest one that spent time at Oracle. Gary Bloom, CEO at eMeter, spent years at Oracle, as did Tom Siebel, the investor behind energy management specialist C3. Most green software companies, of course, sell their offerings through a software-as-a-service model, pioneered by Marc "I sometimes shave" Benioff, another Oracle alum.
That makes Larry Ellison the George Washington, or at least the Thomas Lynch Jr., of green IT.
"Larry trained us all to look for the next mega wave," Infante said.