Enmetric Systems Attracts VC Attention to Plug-Load Building Management Space

Enmetric Systems, a Belmont, California-based company whose platform helps companies and large organizations monitor and reduce energy use from plugged-in devices, recently announced that it has closed a $1.5 million follow-on financing round led by venture capital firm Navitas Capital and included Azure International, Lakewest, Inc., and other angel investors.

Navitas Capital managing partner Travis Putnam had been on Enmetric’s board of directors since 2011 and Chris Raczkowski, managing director of Azure International, joined Enmetric’s board as an observer.

A new report from New Buildings Institute on plug-load management indicates that companies specializing in “plug-load management” may soon be facing a new demand for their services. The Energy Information Agency says devices plugged into outlets by the user are the fastest-growing energy consumers in commercial buildings, and often use up to 50% of an office’s energy after other energy improvements—to lighting, heating and cooling, and other appliances—have been made.  The NBI report concludes: “The increased attention being paid to this source of energy use in facilities is resulting in new technologies, methods, and resources” to be used by building managers seeking to reduce plug loads.

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Enmetric is one of the companies who have emerged to offer such solutions. Its technology is installed directly into power strips, outlets, circuit breakers, and light switches, and its software collects granular information from these interfaces to oversee peak-load reduction, load shifting, and other energy-reducing tactics.

Key indirect competitors include ThinkEco, whose device plugs directly into an outlet to track and manage data on appliance usage, and JouleX, a provider of energy monitoring and control software, who was acquired by Cisco Systems in June for $107 million.

Enmetric’s CEO and founder, Jake Masters, is the son of Gilbert Masters, a professor of civil environmental engineering at Stanford university. Gilbert Masters will serve as an advisor to Enmetric, as will Steve Capelli, former president at Sybase, a SAP company; Capelli also signed on as an investor in the most recent funding round and as a member of the company’s board of directors.

Jim Pettit, managing partner of Navitas Capital, says his firm elected to invest in Enmetric believing that the company’s edge is in its “ability to collect granular data at the work-station level across the enterprise to support a growing number of software applications.” He adds: “Access to the energy data (not forecasted, but real “use” data) clearly drives more applications.”

Enmetric has raised $4.7 million in total so far, beginning with a series-A round in 2011. The company seeks to raise $3 million to $5 million to speed up the rollout of its solutions in another round to take place in the first quarter of 2014.

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