Given the state of the antiquated power grid, there are dozens of options that will help the grid get smarter. One of those tech choices is wireless mesh networking, which can intelligently route information to and from distant meters in an efficient manner and is an idea that’s been getting more attention from investors recently. Eka Systems, a startup that designs and makes wireless mesh network technology for utilities, said this morning that it has raised $18.5 million in a Series D round of funding; the round was led by Flybridge Capital Partners and included the Angeleno Group, RockPort Capital Partners, The Westly Group and Metropolitan Investment.
Eka, which is based in Germantown, Md., installs its wireless nodes under the glass of electricity meters in buildings and then uses its wireless mesh network to constantly transfer information on the real-time energy usage, per building, back to the utility company. The company says its system can help power companies better manage electricity grids, produce close to real-time readouts of usage, detect outages quickly and let building managers figure out the exact energy usage of specific sections of a building.
This is the 8-year-old company’s fourth round of funding, so all in all, Eka has raised around $40 million, according to the Biz Journal; the company also reportedly hopes that this will be its last funding round before it starts generating profits.
Eka CEO Prakash Chakravarthi told us last July that his company’s wireless networking technology is different from competitors because it automates the entire process of managing a large network of meters. Eka competes with companies like Trilliant and Elster, but Chakravarthi says those companies offer closer to a managed network, similar to ISP’s compared to the Internet. Chakravarthi says that that setup isn’t the most efficient way to run wireless smart meter technology.