VC funding of smart grid firms soars: Mercom Capital Group report

 Niti Kiran        Last Updated: April 23, 2015  | 10:55 IST

Venture capital funding in the smart grid sector soared to $185 million across 15 deals in the first quarter of 2015, according to a report by Mercom Capital Group, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm. The figure in the previous quarter stood at just $59 million across 13 deals.

Overall, there were 37 VC investors who participated in the funding rounds in Q1, 2015.  The smart grid communications technology companies received the most funding within the smart grid sector.

SIGFOX, a wireless connectivity solutions provider for smart metering, received the maximum amount from VCs in the quarter, raising $115 million. 

Other major deals included the $15 million raised by Tempered Networks, a cyber-security company; $14 million by Blue Pillar, a provider of software-based solutions for real-time visibility; $11 million by Enbala Power Networks, a provider of demand-side grid optimization services for commercial and industrial large-scale electricity users and $8.4 million by TROVE Predictive Data Science, a provider of applications for load forecasting.

There were seven smart grid M&A transactions totaling $196 million. The top disclosed transaction was the acquisition of AlertMe, a home automation platform, by British Gas.

The battery/storage companies raised $69 million in Q1, 2015 in seven deals, compared with $47 million in Q4, 2014. The two top deals both raised at $20 million, by Boston Power and Sakti3 respectively. There were five M&A transactions in the battery/storage category- the only two disclosed transactions added up to $2.3 billion.

VC funding for the efficiency sector in Q1 2015 was $140 million across 15 deals. That compares with $192 million across 25 deals in the previous quarter. Verne Global, a developer of energy efficient data centres, raised $98 million in the biggest deal in the space.

The sector also recorded a strong quarter in term of M&A transactions. There were a total of 11 transactions adding up to nearly $3.1 billion. That compares with transactions at $131 million in Q4, 2014. The largest disclosed transaction was the $2.8 billion acquisition of an 80 per cent interest in Lumileds, a Royal Philips LED lighting components business, by GO Scale Capital Investment Consortium.

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