Energy Monitoring Gear On Display: Onzo, Tendril, Trilliant

Ah, a true geeky group after our own heart: the DistribuTech conference, which brings together thousands of companies that are using software, wireless networks and digital gadgets to monitor and manage energy consumption, kicks off on Wednesday in San Diego, Calif. Dozens of companies that we’ve covered over the past year, including Onzo, Tendril and Trilliant, will be showing off new gear, new software upgrades, and making announcements about their progress with utility partners.


First up, the London-based startup Onzo, which has been working on sleek-looking display and sensor devices for energy management, finally has images of its production-ready gadgets. Onzo teamed up with designers from Glasgow-based firm Lightweight Medical and plans to start selling the Onzo Smart Energy kit in the middle of this year. The sensor is particularly interesting in that it is very low power and uses energy-harvesting technology to draw power from the home electrical cable on which it will be attached.

Onzo announced last April that it had raised £2 million ($4 million) in financing from Sigma Capital Group and Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE). Onzo also said that SSE has placed an order for £7 million worth of Onzo devices and services, and has exclusive rights to Onzo’s products and services in the UK and Ireland.

Tendril, another energy management startup that has appeared on Earth2Tech several times, is planning to announce on Tuesday the next version of its software and hardware product, the Tendril Residential Energy Ecosystem (TREE). The new software can be upgraded wirelessly, now works with one-way, aka dumb, meters, is interoperable with even more hardware (like third-party thermostats), and offers more visual data to the home user.

Tendril’s CEO Adrian Tuck tells us that while 2008 was about “getting the plumbing sorted out,” 2009 is about “opening up the platform.” Tendril is located in Boulder, Colo., and raised $12 million in Series B funding earlier this year from RRE Ventures, Vista Ventures, Access Venture Partners and Appian Ventures.

And finally Trilliant, a company that makes smart meter hardware and software, says it has delivered more than 1 million two-way devices to its customers — last June the two-decade-old company crossed the 750,000 mark, so in about 10 months it has delivered another 250,000. Trilliant has raised $40 million from MissionPoint Capital Partners and zouk ventures. We’ll be bringing you more news from DistribuTech this week, so check back.