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Another Start-up Promises to Revolutionize the Energy Industry

Todd Carney's picture
Writer, Freelance

Todd Carney is a graduate of Harvard Law School. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Communications. He writes on many different aspects of energy, in particular how it...

  • Member since 2021
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  • Mar 28, 2022

Last year the nation watched as Texas struggled with the limitation of its grid functionality. While a tough winter exasperated the situation, TX’s grid situation revealed a need for upgrading grids everywhere. A start-up known as Sparkmeter is hoping to provide the crucial increase in capacity that the world needs.

What is Sparkmeter?

Sparkmeter was founded in 2013. There are five people credited as the founders, Allison Archambault, Arthur Jacquiau-Chamski, Dan Schnitzer, Nai Phasay, and Tristan Escalada. Schnitzer is the CEO. He has a PhD from Carnegie Mellon. His academic background is in increasing ways to access electricity. Sparkmeter has received investments from 17 different organizations. Sparkmeter is out of Washington DC. It has $22 million in funding.

Sparkmeter has two main categories for products. The first is “microgrid utilities”. It provides the ability to identify metrics on the spot in terms of how the grids are performing. As a result, when there is an issue, the company and customers immediately know about it. Additionally, the grids provide information on how to improve performance. Generally these products seem geared to more international audiences, particularly in developing countries.

The other category is distribution utilities. These products seem to build off existing grids, like the ones in TX. They note that these products can integrate with all types of products. Additionally this technology is supposed to provide more insights to make the grids more efficient. The products also allow users to plan for future increases in usage, such as a major Winter storm.

In general both categories do seem centered around the same basic concept of utilizing new technology to improve energy usage, the question is whether Sparkmeter can deliver? Sparkmeter notes that they have sold over 150,000 meters to over 25 different countries. Sparkmeter categorizes itself as catering to “emerging markets” that 3.5 billion people live in.

Sparkmeter offers specific products that can be customized to individual users. Anyone who wants to purchase their products can request a quote and demonstration.

What is the latest with Sparkmeter?

Sparkmeter recently made news by getting a new round of funding. Out of the $22 million in funding that they have, $10 million came on March 24.  This round of funding primarily came from an investment firm known as Accurant International. Previous funders, Breakthrough Energy Venture and Clean Energy Ventures, also contributed to the funding.

Sparkmeter plans to use this funding to develop a specific platform that they are calling Koios. Sparkmeter plans to use Koios to make their information on energy usage accessible to people of all backgrounds.

Sparkmeter lists a few different types of Koios. The first is “Koios Essentials”, which is the basic version of the product. It provides everything that someone would expect an interface to provide. It has information on billing, an overview of how the system is performing, any special alerts, a few types of reports, and real-time information.

The next category is “Koios Custom Analytics”. As the title notes, this allows for specifications on analytics curtailed to the customer’s needs. This product provides more integration and statistics on losses. It also gives more information on cost and efficiency. This seems more ideal for a company that can afford it because there can be so many variables at hand, especially between locations, so this product is likely to improve efficiency. But a more expensive and detailed product is always likely to result in increased performance, so it is best to compare the products and see which meets your essential needs at the best price.

The final product, “Koios Derms” seems is the product that needs the most fleshing out. Based on the information available, this product helps make real-time changes to developments in energy use. Given the fluid nature of energy, especially to changes in weather, this kind of technology can prove crucial not to just saving money, but also preserving energy. It is unclear how much of this technology is available and when it will be able to provide full use.

What is next?

It is clear that Sparkmeter is a good idea. More groundbreaking technology emerges every day, yet the energy industry remains behind the times. Any product that can provide widespread updates and integration will be a boon to the energy industry. However, if the idea was as easy as it sounds, someone would have done it already. Sparkmeter knows this, as do their competitors.

It will likely be sometime until the world sees what companies like Sparkmeter succeed. But for the sake of the energy industry, hopefully at least some of these companies do flourish.





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