Siebel, Condi Rice-Backed C3 Looking to Raise Close to $50M

Energy resource management startup C3 has some major names from the tech and policy world in its corner, and is looking to amass close to $50 million in funding, according to an SEC filing today, but the company is still largely in stealth mode. Yep, that would be the startup created by Thomas Siebel — the guy who sold Siebel Systems to Oracle for billions of dollars — and which counts former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former Senator and Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham as directors.

C3 was aiming to raise $30 million just back in April, and according to the filing has raised that $30 million, and is now shooting to raise another close to $20 million, on top of that ($48 million total). Close to $50 million is a whole lot of money for a company that appears to be making carbon and energy management software (a very crowded market) and hasn’t emerged from stealth yet. It probably hasn’t been too hard for C3 to raise funds given its high-profile names.

While C3 isn’t really speaking publicly right now, last year Siebel gave some clues into the startup and what it would be doing during a speech at the Alliance of Chief Executives meeting. Enterprise software to help companies manage their carbon footprint, according to two people that attended the speech (Dave Kellogg, the CEO of Mark Logic, and Drue Kataoka of ValleyZen). Both reported that C3 would be focused on helping companies “monitor, mitigate and monetize” their carbon footprint.

The company, which explains itself only as “Energy Resource Management,” on its web site is run by Oracle veterans Patricia House (who co-founded Siebel Systems), Ed Abbo (C3’s CEO) and Lenley Hensarling. According to several things I’ve heard (but I haven’t confirmed with the company), I think C3 stands for “Carbon Conscious Consumers.” Board members beyond Rice and Abraham, include S. Shankar Sastry, the dean of engineering at University of California, Berkeley.

House recently spoke on a panel at a Stanford energy convention, but I didn’t get a chance to see her speak. When I asked for a followup phone call to learn more about C3, I was told they are still not doing media interviews.

At the end of the day, if the company is working on enterprise software for carbon management, I’m still eager to learn about what makes its idea so compelling as to recruit so many high profile execs and board members. There are already over 22 different carbon management firms, including Hara, which has its own high-profile backers with political connections. Oracle itself and even SAP have also moved into the carbon management space.

I don’t think carbon management software is about innovative technology at this point, though any innovation would be welcome. The market is more focused on getting big, getting customers and getting ready for Congress to pass a climate bill with a cap and trade system in it. Any type of climate bill is looking more and more difficult to pass as of late, but the carbon management market is still really large (with international carbon markets and voluntary compliance) and will only grow larger over the coming years.

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Image courtesy of Mattlemmon.