At our Green:Net conference in March in San Francisco, we hosted a lot of startups using information technology to fight climate change. Four months later, some of the startups that both launched and announced news at the event have made a bit of headway. This week Visible Energy, which makes energy management-based consumer electronics, and Kashless, which has created a web hub for free stuff, have added new products and started to expand.
First up Visible Energy: The Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup has developed energy management software and electronics that will automatically record appliances’ consumption, and enable users to control those appliances via their iPhones, iPod Touch devices, or computers. The year-old company is touting several new products on its newly-launched web site this morning, including a smart power cord, a smart circuit breaker, an energy management dashboard, an energy management picture frame, and even a smart plug-in electric vehicle garage charger. The company also says in its newsletter today that it hopes to have its UFO Power Strip — a flying saucer-shaped disc with four sockets — available for purchase by Christmas of this year.
More importantly, at least from a revenue perspective, Visible Energy says that it has a trial with an Italian utility to offer its customers the option to purchase its products. And Visible Energy CEO Marco Graziano told us via email this morning that the company is hoping to close its Series A funding before the end of the year. With that cash the company hopes to hire more people, increase its manufacturing and expand its product line.
Visible Energy is clearly moving a lot slower than some companies that make competing energy management products like Tendril, Control4, and Energy Hub (read about 10 companies building energy management tools here). But by the time consumer’s are ready to purchase these types of products, the company could have ramped up just in time.
Now onto Kashless: Martin Tobias’ startup (formerly the CEO of biodiesel maker Imperium Renewables), which has developed a web site for people to give away and find free stuff. It’s like Craigslist, but with many more Web 2.0-style features, and targeted at folks that want to specifically barter in free goods. Tobias tells us that they have started their slow national expansion, from an initial launch in Seattle, to launching sites in New York, Portland, Ore. and Spokane, Wash. this week.
Tobias tells us that he hopes to have the top 100 metro areas live by end of August, and that traffic to the sites have tripled in the last couple of days. While Craiglist is pervasive in most cities, it would seem like companies like Kashless could use Craigslist more as a platform to integrate with and expand upon, and less as a competitor. Kashless is still in “alpha” stage, meaning it’s very new (even earlier than beta). For Tobias’ explanation of what the company has coming down the pike, read his blog post.