Tendril Acquires GroundedPower, Raises $23M

Tendril, the venture-backed home energy management startup, has raised yet more funding and acquired a startup focused on software for behavioral energy efficiency. I’d been wondering how Tendril, one of the first to move into the consumer-focused energy management market, would try to maneuver in the difficult and increasingly competitive space.

Tendril has acquired a virtually unknown, Boston-based company called GroundedPower, which Tendril CEO Adrian Tuck told me in a phone interview on Monday is basically a group or 10 or so guys that have developed behavioral-based energy efficiency programs. Tuck wouldn’t disclose terms of the deal, but said that Tendril will weave the behavior software into its web-based application to provide more convincing and engaging energy reducing recommendations and tips for consumers.

The move sounds familiar to the functionality that companies like OPower and Efficiency 2.0 already have. Both startups have built their businesses around algorithms that compile streams of data — from weather data, to housing prices, to location data — to convince consumers to reduce energy consumption in ways that make sense to them. Tuck told me that Tendril expects to compete more closely with OPower and Efficiency 2.0 in the future.

It’s probably not a bad idea to mimic OPower. The company, which uses software to help utilities hand out more detailed, itemized energy bills, has seemed to be going gangbusters lately (hiring a lot of new staff) partly because of its low cost of deployment, and because of the results it’s been delivering to its utility customers.

Tendril, on the other hand, has faced a more difficult market. While it’s “won 75 percent of projects” for its space, says Tuck, the slow-moving cycle of utilities deploying home energy management pilots can take months and even years. Often, these trials are in the summer, need to be approved by the state public utilities commissions, and only once a trial is successfully completed will a utility consider a larger rollout.

Along with its acquisition news, Tendril says it has raised a Series D round of $23 million, bringing Tendril’s total funds raised to $73 million. That’s a lot of money for this space. I had heard a rumor that Tendril had previously raised a down round, so I asked Tuck more details about the funding. Tuck said that the current round raised was “an up round” (the valuation keeps going up) but wouldn’t disclose more information.

For more research on demand response and the smart grid check out GigaOM Pro (subscription required):