It was a good week for all things “smart”, as smart grid, smart water, and smart transportation companies all picked up new capital.
The biggest venture-backed deal of the week was $47M in fresh financing for SmartDrive Systems, a U.S. based developer of intelligent fleet solutions for improving the operating efficiency and safety of commercial vehicles. SmartDrive has raised over $128M to date from New Enterprise Associates, Oak Investment Partners, and Stanford University.
In the world of smart grid, German broadband powerline communications developer Power Plus Communications pulled in a $15M Series B round of capital. Demonstrating the continued importance of corporate strategic investment, British Gas Venture Capital & Siemens were both participating investors and will bring valuable support beyond just their checkbooks. In other smart grid news, SEC filings indicate that On-Ramp Wireless has raised $10M of a proposed $30M financing round. On-Ramp provides a variety of communications solutions tailored to both smart grid, as well as energy and industrial applications. We expect to see more in this space (i.e. industrial automation) as more traditional energy businesses such as oil & gas exploration seek better monitoring and control solutions.
Rounding out the week’s “smart” deals, WaterSmart Software added $1M in new venture support as it pursues its software-as-a-service platform for helping water utilities better educate and engage consumers on water usage and conservation opportunities. Dubbed by many, an Opower for the water sector, WaterSmart appears to be making headway in its quest to get consumers to pay more attention to their water bills.
Finally, in this week’s top items, BlackRock reached a $252M first close of its new renewable energy fund. The milestone is an important one at a time that many investment firms and asset managers in the cleantech sector face a challenging fundraising environment. We hope to see more positive fundraising news follow.
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