GridPoint, the Washington, D.C.-based software company, has been a bit of an enigma over the last few years. It started in 2003 as a provider of an energy and solar system management solution for upper-end homes, but, realizing the constraints of that market, repackaged its software into a customer engagement platform for utility customers as well as several other smart grid applications like load management. GridPoint landed a number of high-profile utilities as customers, including Xcel Energy through its $100 million SmartGridCity project in Boulder, Colorado.
It still offers each of these, but has recently taken yet another turn. The firm has begun developing enterprise energy management systems for large commercial and industrial enterprises. It acquired energy management software firm ADMMicro in 2009 and has made significant inroads already. Its enterprise business is actually considerably larger than its utility business today. It has extended its non-software offerings in the process, with a platform that includes hardware (such as controllers, thermostats, submeters, and other sensors) and services (including network operations center-style energy advisory services).
It’s one of the best-financed cleantech startups, having raised over $240 million to date. GridPoint was even considering an IPO in 2010, but didn’t follow through, and shortly thereafter replaced its then-CEO with software and communications industry maven John Spirtos. GridPoint went dark for a period of time, but has started to reappear in the media as Spirtos has led the company deeper into the enterprise energy management space.
In a certain sense, GridPoint’s approach and solution are starting to come full-circle, as its utility customers are now asking GridPoint to go beyond customer engagement and deeper into device-level energy monitoring and management of their ratepayers’ facilities. This corresponds with the broader trend we’ve been tracking on this blog, in which energy management software companies are looking to market their enterprise platforms to utilities for deployment to their customers.
That field is getting increasingly crowded, with other software companies like C3, Pulse Energy, and BuildingIQ making similar early moves. GridPoint may have an added strength in its existing relationships and knowledge of what works (and what doesn’t) in deploying next-generation software to the slow-moving utility sector. And although GridPoint has reimagined itself a number of times over the last few years, the success it has had in serving enterprise customers recently shows how readily same data and analytics engines can be used to tell different stories, be they smart grid- or smart building-related. If GridPoint maintains this light-footedness, it will serve it well in the evolving smart grid industry.
Tags: Energy Management, Mergers & Acquisitions, Smart Buildings Practice, Utility Innovations
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