UPDATED: Peddling home energy management gear and software successfully is harder than it seems, and some startups as well as big companies such as Microsoft and Cisco are ditching this market. EnergyHub is staying, and on Thursday announced a $14.5 million funding to help it sell products to service providers and consumers.
The New York company will use the Series B round to commercialize its home energy management system, including the recently announced software and service to enable people to program their thermostats and cut unnecessary energy use. EnergyHub designed the service to sell it to cable TV providers, home security service companies and equipment makers, utilities and thermostat manufacturers.
The company also is working on an online portal to sell its equipment and services directly to consumers. Back in March, EnergyHub’s CEO, Seth Frader-Thompson, told us about the company’s plan to do a trial to gauge consumers’ reaction to its new sales program. The company sells a line of gadgets that include a wireless thermostat, a power strip that tracks energy use and a device to program temperature settings and display current and estimated future energy costs.
New investors for the B round are Acadia Woods and New York City Investment Fund. Existing investors are .406 Ventures and Physic Ventures. EnergyHub has raised $17.9 million total for the two rounds.
Neither utilities nor consumers have embraced home energy systems the way gear makers have hoped. A big stumbling block has to do with price. Startup Tendril stopped selling its high-end device, and it shifted its strategy. GE did as well. EnergyHub doesn’t seem to have announced the price for its gadgets and services — we’ve asked the company for that information and will update the post if we get it. UPDATE: EnergyHub said it won’t release pricing information until it’s ready to sell to the general public.
Consumers also just don’t seem to be that interested in managing their energy use closely, even if the tools are free. Part of the problem, though, is that many consumers just aren’t aware of the products and services that are available.
Selling to utilities requires patience. Utilities often want a long field trial before committing to buying equipment and services. It could be a few years before an energy management company sees revenues from its deals with utilities.
Although some of the home energy management companies have bowed out, many other players are still in. Here is our handy list of some of those companies.
Image courtesy of EnergyHub