Startup Gridco raises $10M to make the power grid work more like the internet

Startup Gridco Systems, which builds networking gear and software for the power grid, has closed a $10 million round, according to an SEC filing. The company’s investors include venture capitalists General Catalyst, North Bridge venture partners, Lux Capital, and RockPort Capital.

Gridco is an almost four-year-old company that was founded by Naimish Patel, a serial entrepreneur who co-founded optical networking company Sycamore Networks. His idea was to use digital solid state transformers and software that ingests data in real time to create a new type of smart power grid product for utilities that looks far more like an internet network product than a traditional utility tool.

Traditional transformers are electrical devices that change the voltage of electricity on the power grid. Solid state transformers are a system made up of semiconductors, transformers and control circuits that enable a utility to have more digital computing-based control over the distribution portion of the power grid.

The benefit to the utility is that their grids could be self-healing, and smarter, so that when one section of a grid goes down, other areas of the grid can route around that section. Traditional grid equipment — which is electromechanical — doesn’t usually have digital smart systems and software built into it.

Gridco previously raised $20 million, and according to the Boston Business Journal is planning to launch its tech more widely this upcoming January at the power grid conference Distributech.