GridPoint, a smart grid company that helps utilities balance energy loads, just announced that it has more than doubled its funding, adding a $120 million equity financing round. Those funds will fuel an “acquisition strategy,” and GridPoint says its first purchase, also announced today, is young Seattle-based startup V2Green, which builds smart charging technology to plug electric vehicles into the power grid. The price has not yet been disclosed.
GridPoint, which had already raised more than $100 million, raised this latest round largely from existing investors, which include Goldman Sachs Group (GS), Susquehanna Private Equity Investments, David Gelbaum’s The Quercus Trust, the Altira Group and Standard Renewable Energy Group. This funding brings the company’s total to more than $220 million. The company also has a big list of advisers, which include R. James Woolsey, former director of the CIA, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Daniel Yergin.
The acquisition of smart charging startup V2Green is particularly interesting. In March GridPoint said it had partnered with utility Duke Energy to test its smart charging tech on a controlled outlet in a residential garage. It didn’t sound too impressive, so good thing the company’s investing in some real plug-in tech. We actually asked V2Green what they thought about the GridPoint trial at the time, and they said they were actively trying to figure out more.
In June V2Green CEO John Clark told us that V2Green had raised a “significant investment” from an individual angel investor as part of the startup’s initial fund raising. So whoever that was (V2Green says it wasn’t GridPoint) will be happy today.
As more and more vehicles are made to plug into the grid, utilities will have to manage the plug-in connections, or the power grid could risk being overloaded. V2Green’s technology allows a plug-in electric vehicle to communicate with the grid so energy can flow to and from the car as the grid needs, called “smart charging” technology. The company’s Connectivity Modules use cellular networks to connect the vehicle with the grid, and allow for a two-way exchange of data.
GridPoint could also use V2Green’s software for other energy storage devices that plug into the power grid. Clark told us in June that V2Green was working on projects that could allow anything with a battery and grid connection to start sending energy to the grid, not just drawing from it. GridPoint says V2Green is the first of its acquisition strategy, so we’ll keep an eye out for other good possible fits for the company.