On Thursday morning, GE will host a day-long event where it plans to announce the latest winners of its $200 million smart grid challenge that are specifically focused on energy use in the home. Expect to hear about both investments and $100,000 awards to promising home energy innovators. GE first launched its smart grid challenge a year ago, in conjunction with Emerald Technology Ventures and RockPort Capital, and the project moved into the second home-focused phase in January.
GE said in January that some of the home-focused startups that entered the challenge could get investment from GE and its VC partners, and some will receive $100,000 in award money. As of January, $55 million of the $200 million fund had been committed, and out of 4,000 ideas submitted, there had been more than 1,100 in the category of home energy, said GE.
Back in November, GE named 12 winners of its smart grid challenge, which split the first $55 million, and five “innovation award winners” that received $100,000 each. The 12 winners included some bigger companies like OPower, Consert, SynapSense, Soladigm, Scientific Conservation, and SustainX, while the innovation winners included smaller companies like Winflex, IceCode, and GridON.
GE has a strong interest in the home energy market. At CES in January, GE showed off its new Home Energy Management business, including its Nucleus home energy device, as well as its Brillion line of smart appliances and smart thermostats. All these are meant to connect within the home to GE’s smart meters, then as a gateway to the smart grid.
At GE’s event on Thursday, it will also feature an 8-hour discussion between tech execs and pundits, which will include speakers like entrepreneur Tim O’Reilly, designer Yves Behar, and inventor Saul Griffith. Behar designed GE’s electric vehicle charger.
We’ll bring you the winners Thursday morning!