Energy management startups Tendril and AlertMe both announced this week that the companies had raised significant funds for pretty similar-looking products. Both companies sell sets of devices that wirelessly plug into appliances and manage energy consumption via a web-based interface. But instead of being major competitors, the companies could actually end up being solid candidates for a merger (well, if Tendril bought AlertMe) and here’s why:
Tendril and AlertMe share two sets of investors: VantagePoint Venture Partners and Good Energies. VantagePoint is one of the bigger VC firms focused on cleantech in the U.S., while Good Energies is one of the biggest cleantech investors in Europe. VantagePoint’s Stephan Dolezalek told us that after working with Good Energies on the AlertMe deal, it brought Good Energies into the Tendril deal.
The companies have also developed skillsets for two different aspects of the energy management industry. AlertMe has developed a really well-designed piece of eye-candy energy management kit, which, as Dolezalek says, looks like it could have come out of the design labs of Apple. (Others like Onzo are looking to the same model.) Tendril’s gear is solid-looking, but where it really excels is the software and back end that hooks up the gear to the utility. The two companies’ software and hardware combo could be golden.
The two companies are also in different regions, so could help the other conquer different countries. Tendril, based in Boulder, Colo., is gaining traction in the U.S, while AlertMe, based in Cambridge, UK, has been selling its gear in Europe and says it’s starting to work with UK utilities. Dolezalek tells us that the two companies have met a couple times recently and are helping each other out in various ways.
Ultimately, it would likely be Tendril that would buy AlertMe, as Tendril has raised significantly more money. When I asked Dolezalek if there was a planned acquisition down the road, he said that it was too early to tell and the companies would end up making that decision for themselves, but that it makes sense for the companies to work together.