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Companies and cities sign on to Lucid's energy-tracking apps as the startup adds $8M

Lucid iPad screen shot
Image Credit: Lucid

Believe it or not, businesses, colleges, cities, and states like seeing how much energy all their buildings use. The growth of a software company called Lucid proves that.

Lucid announced $8 million in new venture funding today. The company plans to bolster its cloud-based software and hire the kinds of people who can get lots more businesses using the software, which analyzes usage from lots of devices and systems to produce simple applications and dashboards.

Fortunately for Lucid, the cloud as an aggregation point seems to make more and more for organizations.

The company has observed “a steady move away from high-cost, proprietary, slow methods of connecting building systems and devices and accessing their data, and a turn toward the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model that innovative companies use to deliver revolutionary products today,” Lucid’s chief creative officer, Gavin Platt, wrote in an email to VentureBeat.

It’s one of a few energy-efficiency software companies that have taken on funding in recent months. Others include AutoGrid Systems, EnergySavvy, and FirstFuel Software.

On top of those, Opower, a company with software that shows people information about their energy usage at home, debuted on public markets in April.

This doesn’t mean a renaissance for greentech startups. But it does hint at the value of technology that can help companies and people cut down on the amount of money they spend on a necessary resource.

Small wonder Google, Cisco, and other companies “have a huge interest in entering the space,” Platt wrote.

Lucid’s software brings together energy, water, and gas usage statistics for every building that a company operates. Inputs include utility meters, lighting controls, and power-generation systems — in total, more than 150 systems.

The creation of a common language for lots of different proprietary systems might not sound like a big deal, but it is. Suddenly, it becomes easy for companies to understand what’s going on with all of their facilities, without checking a slew of isolated dashboards and databases, and without doing a lot of complicated work to bring the data into one place.

“You just click ‘connect,’ and the connection is done, and we do all the heavy lifting,” Lucid founder and chief executive Vladi Shunturov told VentureBeat.

Lucid also makes software that visualizes energy usage information for building occupants, whether on a big, shared screen in the lobby or on an online dashboard employees can view whenever they want. Lucid’s Building Dashboard software can also display how much money companies are spending on energy and how much carbon dioxide they have emitted so far for a given month.

Lucid started in Ohio in 2004. Now it employs 40 people and is based in Oakland, Calif. It will probably hit 80 or 85 people by the first quarter of next year, Platt said.

The company says it has 400 customers, including Disney, Google, PNC Bank, Skanska, Sony Pictures, the state of Florida, and the University of California.

Formation 8 led the funding round for Lucid. Zetta Venture Partners also participated. To date, Lucid has raised $9.5 million.

Eric Blattberg contributed reporting.

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