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April 24, 2014

Smart Grid Communication Tech Companies Get Most VC Funding in Q1



Venture capital funding of smart grid tech companies dropped when comparing Q1 of 2014 and Q1 of 2013, but some sectors did better than others.

Venture capital funding for smart grid tech companies during Q1 was $101 million – with a total of 21 deals. That compares to $148 million in 31 deals in Q4 of 2013, according to data released by Mercom Capital Group.

“Funding into Smart Grid companies is trending up the past couple of quarters, Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group, said in a statement.

The recent deals were led by SIGFOX. It raised $20.6 million from Idinvest Partners, FSN PME, Digital Ambition Fund, Elaia Partners, Intel (News - Alert) Capital, Ixo Private Equity, and Partech Ventures.

In addition, EnVerv raised $15.4 million from Cassiopeia Capital Partners, Cisco, UMC Capital, Benchmark Capital, New Enterprise Associates, and Walden International. Also, Smart Wire Grid raised $13.4 million from RiverVest Venture Partners and other investors. In another deal, AutoGrid raised $12.8 million from E.ON (News - Alert), Foundation Capital and Voyager Capital. And Grid20/20 raised $8.1 million.

Overall, for Q1 smart grid communication technology companies received the most VC funding – raising $62 million in 11 deals. Demand response companies raised $14 million in three deals. Data analytics companies raised $13 million in three deals. Grid optimization companies raised $8.1 million in one deal, and distributed generation and integration companies raised $4 million in three deals.

In addition, the study cited six merger and acquisition smart grid transactions during Q1 of 2014. Two of these disclosed amounts totaling $3.35 billion. They include the $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest Labs, a smart thermostat and home energy solution provider, by Google (News - Alert). In addition, there was a $150 million acquisition of Aclara Technologies, a provider of advanced solutions, by Sun Capital Partners, a private equity firm from ESCO Technologies.

In another recent study, smart grid hiring executives recently predicted that 2013 hiring in the sector was to increase 9 percent over 2012 levels, according to A. Cullen & Associates and Zpryme Smart Grid Insights.

Also, between 2007 and 2013 more than 37 million smart meters were installed in the U.S. The number of cyber-attacks increased over the several-year period, too, with water utilities seeing a 60 percent increase in attacks during this time frame, according to Green Biz.




Edited by Maurice Nagle

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