Lately it seems like there’s more energy management tools coming to market over the next year than there are blockbuster movies due to hit the theaters this summer. And really, doesn’t monitoring your energy use sound like more fun than watching “Wolverine”? One-year-old startup EnergyHub, which plans to launch its wireless home energy tool sometime this year, said this morning that it’s raised its first round of funding, which could help the company get its product out the door.
EnergyHub makes a sort of ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) that contains enough computing power to provide detailed, Google-style spreadsheets and graphs for monitoring your energy usage and comparing it to your usage over time or to the energy consumption of other users. The smart device, which uses a touchscreen interface, connects to the Internet and uses a ZigBee wireless connection to talk to smart devices in the home. Competitors, meanwhile, are largely placing smarts in the software and web site interface, leaving the dashboard to be more of a dumb device.
Given its alternative dashboard focus, the startup’s target market is a little different than competitors, too. EnergyHub aims to sell the device directly to consumers, as well as utility customers. Other companies in the space are relying solely on utilities as the gatekeepers. The reason a lot of startups tend to opt for the utility first is it can be difficult and expensive for small, young companies to do the marketing and reach the scale of manufacturing required for the consumer market. On the utility front, EnergyHub says it will soon launch a 50-home pilot trial in an East Coast city with a yet-to-be-named utility.
While EnergyHub didn’t disclose the size of the investment — only that it’s “a typical first round” — it did detail its investors: .406 Ventures and Physic Ventures. The company says it will use the funds to work on product development and trials with utilities.