Energy management technology got a leg up with startup Sentilla announcing that it raised $7.5 million in a second round of funding. The company, which pulled in the new financing from Onset Ventures and Claremont Creek Ventures, said the cash will go toward further development of its wireless sensor network and to expand its global operations.
Sentilla, based in Redwood City, Calif., is working on a wireless sensor network for demand-side energy management for commercial and industrial facilities, as well as for safety, security and logistics applications. The chips can help companies save on their energy costs by tracking and reporting power use at the equipment level, turning the equipment into a smart device.
The company uses a Java-based software platform running on a low-power, wireless chip about the size of a dime, which Sentilla says can be put anywhere or attached to anything. By using the popular Java platform, the company says new applications for its chips can be developed in days, rather than months.
Low-power chips are gaining traction with many semiconductor companies, and energy monitoring is one of the more promising market opportunities. While Sentilla’s chips may not use much power, they still need some, and powering the chips could become a problem if they’re put in remote locations. Sentilla says it has already done some work to run its chips on solar power, heat from an exhaust pipe, or the vibration of a motor.
Last month, San Diego-based Peregrine Semiconductor announced that it was also looking into energy harvesting for its chips, saying it started work with Kansas State University researchers on an energy-harvesting radio using a low-power chip that was originally developed for a NASA Mars project.
Sentilla was founded in 2003 under the name Moteiv by three University of California, Berkeley, graduates, and reportedly raised $3.9 million in its first round of funding in October 2006. That round was also led by Onset and Claremont Creek, with PacRim Venture Partners and Capital Valley Ventures, now known as Wavepoint Ventures, listed as existing shareholders at the time.