Friday, May 05, 2006

Current Communications, BEN, Blue Ridge Numerics, and Prenova

Several energy efficiency-related deals over the last couple of days, including a couple of broadband-over-powerline (BPL) plays:
  • Current Communications announced a new $130mm third round of financing. New strategic investors include TXU, GE, EarthLink, and Sensus Metering Systems. Existing investors EnerTech (majority owner), Google, Goldman Sachs, Hearst, Duke Energy, and Liberty Associated Partners also participated. TXU is busy rolling out BPL using Current's systems, and EarthLink is the retail internet partner. Current last raised $100mm in their second round of financing less than a year ago. Clearly a lot of big players are making major bets on BPL becoming a "third pipe" into the home -- and as an enabler of two-way communications for metering and energy-using devices, BPL (and its simpler cousin "powerline carrier" or PLC) can help "demand response" and other cleantech applications gain more market traction.
  • Another BPL-related company, Broadband Energy Networks (BEN), which is connecting to BPL networks with energy management applications, announced they have raised $2.5mm of an anticipated $3.9mm Series A (the RH article is pretty confusing on the numbers, however, so this total could be wrong). 21Ventures provided $1mm in funding, CEO and Founder Lawrence Silverman provided $1.5mm, with $1.4mm still open in the round.
  • Energy management software/ solutions provider Prenova announced an inside round, which appears to have been less than $2mm (based upon the company's 2003 $15.5mm round and details in this press release -- note, opens a pdf). Existing investors include Frontenac, River Cities Capital Fund, and Austin Ventures.


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