GridPoint — the smart grid startup with lots of money, lots of acquisitions and a lot to prove — has replaced its founding CEO Peter Corsell with an interim CEO: former CSO and software and communications veteran John Spirtos. Industry watchers are no doubt wondering if the change-up will accelerate GridPoint’s long-awaited move from great expectations to real-world revenues.
GridPoint made the executive shift known last night, saying Corsell will now serve as non-executive board chairman. The Arlington, Va.-based startup also announced that Mike Lach, the COO and president recruited by Corsell in 2008, would step down to “pursue other interests.” A search for a permanent CEO is underway.
GridPoint has raised more than $220 million since its 2003 founding, and has gone through several business plan reincarnations throughout that time. It started out making technology for managing energy and solar panels in higher-end homes, then shifted to a broader smart grid software play, only to reemerge lately with a building energy management focus.
Along the way it made a lot of acquisitions — vehicle-to-grid startup V2G in 2008, home energy dashboard maker Lixar, energy management company ADMMicro in 2009, and energy contractor Standard Renewable Energy in February. It has also done pilot projects with utilities including Austin Energy, Duke Energy, Kansas City Power & Light, Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Xcel Energy (z XEL) — though it hasn’t yet disclosed any revenues from these partners.
Smart grid industry watchers have been waiting for GridPoint to start making money from all these lines of business. In May, it finally announced a paying, $28.7 million contract with the U.S. Postal Service to install and operate energy management systems at some 750 locations, along with two one-year extensions that could raise that to 2,250 facilities across the country. (It also disclosed the exercise of some $10 million in warrants at that time.)
GridPoint has promised it will grow revenues to about $100 million this year, so the USPS contract puts it a little more than a quarter the way to its year-end goals. It hasn’t disclosed how much of its total funds raised to date have been spent on acquisitions and R&D.
GridPoint’s sprawling lines of business make it a potential competitor to companies in just about every smart grid field, with the possible exception of transmission and generation systems. Its home energy management systems will compete with those from dozens of startups — including equally well-funded Silver Spring Networks and its Greenbox home energy platform — as well as giants Google, Microsoft and Intel. As for building energy management, GridPoint will be going up against giants like Siemens, Honeywell and Johnson Controls — the latter two are partnering with IBM on building management — as well as other startups in the field.
GridPoint’s board of directors includes investor Jeffery Berman and partners at Craton Equity Partners and Carnton Capital Associates. It also includes Robert Mancini, CEO of Goldman Sachs power development subsidiary Cogentrix Energy, and Jacob J. Worenklein, CEO of US Power Generating Co., which owns and operates a major portion of the power capacity in New York City and Boston.
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