Using software to make computers and networks more energy efficient just doesn’t have the cool factor of solar panels or biofuels. That’s because it is wholly sensible and can predictably both save companies money and reduce carbon emissions. What’s the fun if there’s no big risk?
Well, you get to grow your company fast and keep investors interested. Verdiem, a Seattle, Washington-based startup backed by venture firm Kleiner Perkins, tells us that it is in the process of raising “a substantial” Series B right now. The company, which sells its software to large organizations that want to centrally manage the power consumption of company computers, will use the funds for expansion as well as work on new potentially web-based products.
Kleiner has actually been one of the earlier VCs to invest in energy efficiency software. A lot of investors have stayed away from the sector, as many are looking for industry disruptors and the next “Google” of cleantech. Though that could start to change as companies building and using IT are waking up to energy savings as a standard way to cut costs.
On a panel called “The Next Cleantech Frontier — Software” at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco on Tuesday, Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Stategist, Rob Bernard noted that software startups will start to play a big role in optimizing different processes as companies like Wal-Mart try to cut carbon emissions out of their supply chain. And in fact Wal-Mart is asking startups to pitch it just these kinds of ideas.
Bernard contended that computing is moving into a “dimmer paradigm” thanks to distributed power management, compared to the historically on-off mode. Data centers are already starting to see smart power systems via virtualization companies like VMWare.
And the more niche the industry and targeted the energy savings due to the software, the riper the opportunity for small startups. As Bernard said on the panel “we need startups to bring creativity to the edges of the network.” There’s a lot of work to be done out there.