Smart Grid BuyOut: SmartSynch Snaps Up AppMesh

Two startups aiming to see utilities use public wireless networks, not proprietary ones, for smart grid deployments joined forces today. SmartSynch, a Jackson, Miss.-based company founded in 1998, said it has bought up Applied Mesh Technologies (or AppMesh), a two-year-old company based in Macon, Ga. The companies didn’t disclose the terms of the deal.

SmartSynch CEO Stephen Johnston tells us that AppMesh’s technology overlapped with its own in a few areas and the company was partly a competitor. SmartSynch makes smart meter technology with embedded communications gear that links meters to the utility. AppMesh, on the other hand, primarily makes hardware and software that sit on the grid and in the utility system, technology that will broaden SmartSynch’s product line. Together, Johnston says the companies have almost 100 utility customers.

The most important factor in the union is that both companies have set up their technologies to rely on public wireless networks, which can offer utilities lower cost and other benefits of standardized networks, like greater access to applications and developers. As SmartSynch’s Johnston says: “In this economy, utilities are not going to want to build out their own proprietary networks.” Both companies use wireless communication networks like cellular — EVDO, GPRS — and Wi-Fi.

SmartSynch has a sigificant amount of capital with which to make the purchase — the decade-old company has raised at least $80 million from Credit Suisse, Southern Farm Bureau Life, Battelle Ventures, Beacon Group, Endeavor Capital Management, GulfSouth Capital, Innovation Valley Partners, Kinetic Ventures, OPG Ventures, Nth Power, JP Morgan Partners, Siemens Venture Capital and Duke Ventures.

If you want to know more about the startups and trends that are delivering the smart energy home check out our Smart Energy Home briefing — SmartSynch is named as one of 25 key players in the space.