If you’re itching to sell a greentech company, it’s looking like there’s better odds in the smart grid sector as of late. This morning utility gear provider Cooper Industries announced that it has bought up wireless smart grid startup Eka Systems. Terms of the deal were undisclosed, but Cooper says it will fold Eka’s wireless system into its Energy Automation Solutions (EAS) business which sells networks automation gear to utilities.
Cooper’s Eka acquisition is one of a growing number of smart grid-focused startup acquisitions that have emerged over the last several months. In December demand response provider EnerNOC acquired a 30-person company called Cogent Energy, based in Concord, Calif., for its energy efficiency efforts, and in March it also bought up Boulder, Colo.-based SmallFoot, which sells wireless systems that manage demand for small commercial buildings. Silver Spring Networks acquired home energy management startup Greenbox in September, and GridPoint bought previously both Lixar SRS and V2Green.
Eka, which champions wireless mesh networks as a low cost option for utilities’ smart grid services, is based in Germantown, Md., and has reportedly raised at least $40 million in funding from investors including Flybridge Capital Partners, Angeleno Group, RockPort Capital Partners, The Westly Group and Metropolitan Investment.
The investment shows how companies like Cooper (or competitor Siemens) are looking to younger startups for innovation and, in particular, the latest wireless communication technology. In Cooper’s release this morning it acknowledges that Eka’s product is still in an early phase of deployment: “While the Eka Systems technology has limited existing deployments, this acquisition represents a long-term commitment to this space as we plan to make significant additional organic investments in this product line.”
Siemens, which also provides a variety of automation networking gear to utilities, has been working closely with partners like eMeter and Viridity Energy. Perhaps those are some of the names topping the list of the “next in line to be acquired.”