Intel Capital is no stranger to the clean technology space, but today, it took its participation to the next level with five investments in green companies, amounting to $10 million in all. In the mix, it brought one new portfolio company, demand response firm CPower, into its fold.
While Intel declined to say how much it was giving each startup, it said it was providing follow-on investments to Irish company Powervation, and U.S.-based Convey Computer, Grid Net and iControl. VentureBeat reported on iControl’s fresh $23 million round of funding last week. Intel’s contribution is an extension to that round. The company makes home security and energy control systems that are sold and installed by home protection companies such as ADT Security Services.
All five of these companies fall solidly into the category of energy efficiency and the smart grid. CPower, in particular, has become a major player in the demand response space, going up against the likes of EnerNOC and Comverge. It provides a service to companies that allows them to reduce their energy consumption in exchange for financial incentives (basically it pays them for the energy they don’t use). This benefits the participating companies, obviously, but also their utilities which are then able to balance the grid during peak periods to avert brownouts and disruptions.
Grid Net, on the other hand, is more focused on the back end of the smart grid — how it operates and how it’s managed. It provides an operating system that sits on top of the grid, allowing for easy management of energy data transmitted over 4G broadband networks. Intel’s investment is part of its undisclosed third round of financing. Last month, the company reported that it raised $13.8 million of a targeted $18 million round from Braemar Energy Ventures, Catamount Ventures and GE Energy Financal Services in addition to Intel.
Both Powervation and Convey Computer are closely related to computing energy use. The former allows users to adjust how much power they want to use for their various computing and communications devices.It announced today that it raised $10 million in funding from SEP, Venture Tech Alliance and Fourth Level Ventures in addition to Intel Capital. Convey actively reduces digital energy consumption while boosting performance, it says. It provides compiler technology that simplifies system processes.
Intel has expressed particular interest in smart grid technology, with focus on standards and interoperability. It even spearheaded the Intel Open Energy Initiative to support technologies that advance and comply toward these goals. The company says that CPower, Grid Net and iControl all fall under the banner of the company’s energy efficiency program. But all five companies could easily be deployed to improve Intel’s energy conservation efforts along its value chain.
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