Smart thermostat maker Nest has acquired energy data startup MyEnergy, formerly called Earth Aid. Nest didn’t disclose terms of the deal, but said in a release on Tuesday that the acquisition would help Nest further its goals of helping its users “understand and address” home energy consumption.
MyEnergy is a startup that was founded back in 2007. The company was called Earth Aid for several years, and has developed algorithms that collect, analyze and provide recommendations around utility energy data. MyEnergy CEO Ben Bixby told me in an interview that MyEnergy is already hard at work stitching MyEnergy into the fabric of the Nest service, and he thinks that the union between the two services could be a “game changer” for energy data.
Unlike some startups like Opower that collect and aggregate energy data for utilities to deliver services to their customers, the MyEnergy platform aggregates utility energy data largely to deliver energy efficiency services straight to the consumer. For example, if your utility has an online account, and you gave MyEnergy permission to link that account to its system, then the site would pull your energy consumption data into its network. MyEnergy then would use that data to offer the user recommendations for how to reduce energy consumption and also create a sort of social network around energy consumption. The important part to remember is that your utility doesn’t even have to be involved in the process.
In recent years some utilities have embraced the Department of Energy-backed Green Button program, which is supposed to make this process of collecting and managing utility energy data even easier and standardized.
MyEnergy also has a utility-facing data product, but Bixby clarified that the utility data product isn’t white labelled (the way Opower’s is), and is branded with MyEnergy. Nest said it will also use MyEnergy to provide services for energy providers, so it clearly will be using MyEnergy for both straight to consumer data services and utility data services.
The acquisition move shows how Nest is increasingly working with utilities and energy service providers on energy efficiency and energy services. While Nest, founded by former Apple designers, is well known for making a chic learning thermostat, one of its under appreciated values is its ability to collect and use energy data in new ways. The move also puts Nest in closer competition with leading energy utility data companies like Opower.
Last month Nest announced a variety of energy services that its collective thermostats can provide to energy companies and utilities. Examples of energy services include “demand response,” which is when power companies turn down power usage of a collective group during peak times (like a hot summer afternoon).
MyEnergy doesn’t provide detailed numbers on how many users it has, and Bixby would only say that its customers are found within 1,500 utility service territories. Boston-based MyEnergy had 12 employees before the acquisition, and some of those folks will be coming out west to work with the Nest team. MyEnergy is backed by Point Judith Capital, Clean Energy Venture Group, and Conservation Services Group. Nest is backed by Venrock, Kleiner Perkins, and Google Ventures.