Smart grid firm GridPoint has pretty much the most aggressive acquisition strategy around. This morning the company, which raised raised $120 million towards the end of 2008 to help fund a shopping spree, announced that it has purchased Roanoke, Va.-based energy management company ADMMicro. The acquisition represents the third startup (following smart charging company V2Green, and energy management firm Lixar) that GridPoint has snapped up to help it make the power grid more intelligent.
While the Lixar acquisition enabled GridPoint to sell energy management software that focuses on homes, the ADMMicro purchase (the price of which was not disclosed) will help GridPoint manage energy coming out of the commercial and industrial sectors. ADMMicro’s controllers and metering devices can automatically manage heating and cooling and lighting and provide building owners with online reports, and the company says its gear is already used in “thousands” of deployments at locations like big box retailers and government buildings. ADMMicro says building owners can get a return on investment with its technology in less than two years.
GridPoint’s main business is already helping utilities balance energy loads, and GridPoint CEO Peter Corsell (who we named one of our 15 Top Smart Grid Influencers) has explained the company’s hardware and software technology to us as doing for the power-grid what Cisco (CSCO) did for networking — enabling intelligent distribution and optimization. So adding on technology that can create more utility demand response programs with industrial and commercial building owners (the company is working with Austin Energy, Duke Energy, Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Xcel Energy) makes sense. Commercial and industrial buildings make up the majority of the demand response market.
But this latest acquisition is more than just proof that GridPoint is looking to expand its business. The purchase officially turns GridPoint into the company to sell your smart grid startup to. Not even IBM or Cisco — much larger firms with bigger budgets — have been as aggressive as GridPoint when it comes to locating and acquiring smart grid firms. Now the obvious question is: Who’s next?