Power gear giant Siemens announced on Monday that it has invested in, and will also market technologies from, home energy startup Tendril. Tendril sells software and devices that monitor and manage the home energy consumption of consumers, and Siemens says it plans to co-market these services to utilities. The size of the investment, made through Siemen’s venture arm Siemens Venture Capital (SVC), was not disclosed.
Scoring a connection with massive energy player Siemens is an important win for Tendril. Siemens said last year that it wants to double its current growth rate in the smart grid sector to capture €6 billion ($8.48 billion USD) in global business over the next five years, and Siemens said in the release Monday that since 2000, Siemens VC has invested more than €30 million euros ($43.13 million) into smart grid technology.
While Siemen’s energy gear peers — including Schneider Electric, ABB and GE — have been acquiring smart grid companies as a way to expand, Siemens has opted for partnerships and investments in startups. Siemens has announced partnerships with meter software management company eMeter, BPL Global and Viridity Energy, among others.
The market for home energy management services could one day be large — Pike Research estimates the number of home energy management systems globally deployed could reach 63 million by 2020, up from a little more than 1 million in 2011. But market growth is plagued by several hurdles, including a lack of interest from consumers and slow moving utilities. The market is fragmented (split between consumer-focused players and utility-focused companies), but also is very competitive in terms of the amount of startups and vendors that have emerged with new solutions.
On Monday morning, the Obama administration also launched a series of programs that will aim to boost the amount of consumer tools that can deliver home energy information to consumers, but also make sure that data remains private and secure. The Obama administration emphasized the use of open software, and new tools created by developers, to help create innovation for the smart grid.
Tendril has long touted its software as having an open API, and Siemens said in its announcement that it’s interested in Tendril’s service because it is a “cloud-based platform,” that can create “a new generation of products, applications and devices.”
Tendril was one of the first startups to emerge in the home energy management space, and over recent months has shifted gears slightly, cancelling a high-end home energy device, and buying startup Grounded Power, a company with deep behavioral analytics. But some of Tendril’s utility deals are starting to come to fruition and recently, Tendril announced plans for full-scale commercial deployments of its home energy services in millions of homes by the second half of this year.
Tendril has raised at least $73 million from investors including VantagePoint Venture Partners, Good Energies, and RRE Ventures.