Opower has saved people $416.5 million on energy bills. Now the company is gearing up to stockpile some money of its own.
The company uses social pressure to get people to save electricity and works with utility partners to provide homes with tools and resources to reduce their energy consumption rates. It is best known for using a behavioral science-based method of printing energy bills that compare your energy use to that of your closest neighbors, along with human competitiveness and targeted energy-saving tips to get an average of 1.5 percent to 3.5 percent in energy savings off each bill.
Its partnerships with 90 utility companies reach 22 million households around the world. Opower has grown its customer base by 200 percent in three years and claims to have saved 3.74 billion kilowatt-hours to date.
The company charges utilities between 3 cents and 5 cents per kilowatt-hour its programs save.
Opower launched the Opower 4 platform in 2012. It tracks a customer’s behavior to provide timely energy usage alerts (text messages, mobile notifications, or emails) and analyzes aggregated data on meter readings to send folks personalized tips for reducing energy consumption
It raised $50 million back in 2010 at a rumored $400 million valuation from Accel Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, but hasn’t raised any venture capital since, which is relatively unusual for a company on track to IPO.
Only three clean tech companies IPOed in 2012, and only three are expected for this year. SolarCity had a successful IPO in December 2012, but it did not “unleash the flood of clean-tech IPOs that market participants expected in 2013,” said Kathy Smith, a principal with Renaissance Capital. A dry IPO landscape makes investors wary of investing, which in turn makes it difficult for companies to get off the ground.
If successful, this would be a major boost for the clean tech world, which has struggled over the past couple years.
Opower is based in Alexandria, Va. It took advantage of a JOBS Act provision that allows companies with less than $1 billion in revenue to start the IPO process without disclosing its finances.