Simple Energy raises $6M for energy savings software

Energy software startup Simple Energy has closed a $6 million series B round led by the Westly Group, the company plans to announce on Tuesday. Led by former California Controller Steve Westly, the Westly Group raised a new $170 million fund last year, and is one of the few venture firms still mostly focused on energy, sustainability and cleantech.

Simple Energy, based in Boulder, Colorado, is like a mini Opower — it uses its software, data tools and behavioral analytics to convince the customers of utilities to reduce their energy consumption. The startup uses mechanisms like rewards, tips, social competitions, gaming and a market place, to get people to save energy and they’ve worked with power companies like National Grid, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Delmarva Power.

Helping utilities lower the energy consumed on their networks is a big business. Opower has been reported to be looking to go public sometime this year. Utilities can make relatively small investments into solutions like Opower’s and Simple Energy’s to reduce small amounts of load on an individual level, instead of having to build expensive new power plants to meet growing demand, or deploy energy efficiency hardware solutions for the network or the home.

The Westly Group has backed electric car maker Tesla Motors (s TSLA), local food company Good Eggs, and smart window maker View.