Siemens to buy smart grid software company eMeter

Power and engineering giant Siemens will buy smart meter software company eMeter, the companies announced on Monday. While the companies did not disclose the terms of the deal, this is one of the more high-profile success stories for the smart grid in 2011.

EMeter is a 13-year-old firm that makes software to manage smart meter systems for utilities. This type of software, called meter data management systems (or MDMS), acts as the delivery system between the smart meter and the utility’s back office, and all utilities that are building smart grid networks need this software. EMeter has a long list of utility customers, including Texas-based CenterPoint, Toronto Hydro Electric System, Bluebonnet and Vattenfall in Sweden and Finland, and many others.

Siemens is already an investor in and a longtime partner of eMeter. The German conglomerate led a $12.5 million investment in eMeter in 2008, and the two have been involved in several meter data management projects with European utilities.

Siemens’ approach to the smart grid has been to partner with, invest in and now buy smaller smart grid players. Siemens said back in 2009 that it wants to double its growth rate in the smart grid sector to capture €6 billion ($8.48 billion) in global business over five years, compared to its then €1 billion ($1.41 billion) in estimated smart grid–related revenues for the fiscal year ending Sept. 2009.

But Siemens hasn’t been all that quick to buy companies, and it has instead oftentimes opted for partnerships or investments like it has done with Tendril, Viridity Energy and BPL Global. However, eMeter, which is a successful company with a lot of utility deals, is a solid acquisition and is one of the biggest and first acquisitions that Siemens has made in the smart grid space. Siemens competes with Schneider Electric, ABB, GE and others.

EMeter had raised at least $69 million from venture capitalists Sequoia Capital, Foundation Capital and Northgate Capital. I had long heard that eMeter could be a potential IPO candidate, but the markets haven’t been all that friendly to greentech IPOs in 2011. Here is a list of smart grid acquisitions.