Demand Response Still In Demand, CPower Closes $10.7M Round

Smart meter and home energy management companies have been getting the bulk of the attention when it comes to the rollout of the smart grid. But the old skool demand-response firms are still going strong. One of the largest demand-response providers in the country, CPower, said Tuesday it has raised $10.7 million in its second round of venture funding to expand into new geographies and market segments, including some energy-efficiency programs beyond demand response.

Demand-response service providers, like New York-based CPower, help utilities avoid outages by reducing energy users’ electricity demand at critical times. Utilities pay for the unused megawatts, and energy customers get a cut of the cash. CPower targets large commercial, industrial and institutional power users, as well as some residential clients, in New England, New York, the mid-Atlantic region, Texas, California and Ontario, Canada.

The deal is a good sign for CPower, and highlights the fact that demand-response programs remain “very attractive” to utilities in the downturn, said John Quealy, a managing director at investment bank Canaccord Adams. He pointed as well to EnerNOC, which recently signed three new customers. “We’re seeing very few orders in other energy [segments], but in demand-response, we’re seeing new order flow,” he said.
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App Review: Daniel X — Clichéd Alien Hunters Don’t Come Cheap

title=Daniel X
Increasingly, geeky pasttimes are seeping into the mainstream. Like creatures in a Neil Gaiman story, the boundary between the dimension of the fantastical and the land of the normal is blurring. And with that blur, faithful adaptations of heroes and villains have made the leap to the world of movies.
That means that in addition to Spider-Man, regular folk are suddenly familiar with the likes of Dr. Manhattan, Coraline and Hellboy. What’s more, graphic novels are showing up on our iPhone screens. Scrollmotion’s latest app, Daniel X, brings to us the adventures of a teenage alien hunter with a vivid imagination. Read More about App Review: Daniel X — Clichéd Alien Hunters Don’t Come Cheap

Mayfield Fund Gets Serious About Energy Tech

Tech industry watchers likely know the almost 40-year old venture firm Mayfield Fund for its investments in computing and Internet startups — the company funded well known computing companies Silicon Graphics (s SGIC) and SanDisk (s SNDK) more than a decade ago. But like so many others in the Valley have done in recent years, Mayfield has decided it needs to make a much more substantial push into a decidely newer, greener sector: cleantech. To lead that effort Mayfield has hired hot-shot green investor Todd Kimmel away from Advanced Technology Ventures (ATV). Kimmel, only 33, was responsible for leading ATV’s investments in biofuel startup Coskata (which he also co-founded), and coal gasification company GreatPoint Energy.

While the partners at Mayfield wouldn’t say how much of their latest $395 million fund would be allocated for investing in clean technology startups, Mayfield partner Navin Chaddha told us that eventually the firm plans to commit to energy technology on a scale similar to that of its more traditional investments in consumer Internet, media, enterprise software and communications technology.

Currently, Mayfield has only a couple investments in cleantech, including LatticePower, a Chinese LED maker; Servomax India, which makes more efficient power generators for cell phone towers; and PolyFuel, a fuel cell membrane-maker in Mountain View, Calif. But Mayfield did bring on Tesla founder Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning as entrepreneurs-in-residence last July to explore cleantech opportunities.
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F|R: 5 Reasons to Go All Angel à la Lookery

This week, Lookery, the ad network launched last July to serve über-cheap ads into Facebook applications, has announced a new $2.25 million round of funding. It’s a nice sum for the 14-month-old startup, which now sends Facebook some 3 billion ads a month, according to Lookery’s CEO, Scott Rafer.

But here’s what’s really interesting: Rafer and his cofounder, David Cancel, elected to raise the money almost entirely from angels, forgoing the traditional venture capital most companies would pursue at this stage. This is Lookery’s second funding event. In January, it raised a $1 million note, which converts to equity given in this deal.

The participant list is heady, including founder Marc Benioff; Reed Hundt; Tickle founders James Currier and Stan Chudnovsky; and’s Scott Kurnit. There are some notable VCs in the deal, too, but they’re participating individually, not with their firms: Ted Dintersmith, late of Charles River Ventures; Ravi Mhatre of Lightspeed; and Allen Morgan, of the Mayfield Fund, who is also a Lookery director.

Serial founders with good track records, Rafer (MyBlogLog) and Cancel ( could have gone after marquee venture firms if they’d want to, but the pair has specific reasons for favoring angels. After the jump, Rafer explains why other founders ought to consider doing the same. Read More about F|R: 5 Reasons to Go All Angel à la Lookery