In 2012, we've seen many changes in the vendor market for energy management and sustainability software. Energy and sustainability leaders need to be aware of these changes as they evaluate vendors in 2013. Here are four notable trends.
1. BMS vendors begin to open up their closed, proprietary building control systems.
Led by Johnson Controls, BMS control manufacturers begin to add API and other ways to allow customers to open their BMS data and controls to non-BMS vendors. Control manufacturers are slowly catching up to the realities of an open, multiple vendor approach to monitoring and controlling energy and assets. Industry-accepted communications standards, low cost communications and innovative sensors and meters are driving a move from "dumb" facilities and operations with no visibility to "smart" facilities and operations that are networked and digitally communicate usage trends and remotely control assets.
2. High profile, venture-backed startups switch CEOs and business models in search of a winning approach
A number of the high profile venture-backed startups went through CEO changes, layoffs, and strategy changes as they adjust their expense levels and approaches to actual customer needs and market demand.
After raising $45M, Hara is on its third CEO in 18 months and is offering free trials and free versions of its software (similar to Noesis Energy which raised $14M).
C3, which raised $89M, downsized and switched its messaging and focus from large commercial customers to utilities with its acquisition of Efficiency 2.0.
Initially backed with $17M, SCIenergy merged with Transcend, the energy financing startup with the Transcend CEO now running the newly combined entity.
SeriousEnergy, which raised $130M and tried to combine varied businesses including manufacturing high performance windows, energy management software and energy financing, downsized and experienced significant management turn over (some of it detailed in this GTM article).
3. Acquisitions by large companies hit the market
Schneider Electric's acquisition of Summit Energy seems to be going well as we receive numerous inquires about it from companies. Schneider Electric now offers a very broad energy management set of offerings from meters, to controls, to utility bill management and to procurement. The Siemens' acquisition of Pace Global is also watched by many.
Look for other large firms like Honeywell and Johnson Controls to make acquisitions in 2013.
4. Innovative firms continue to raise money
Innovative and often very focused startups raised money in 2012. Some notable ones are:
- First Fuel, energy data analytics, raised $10m in Series A
- Outsmart, energy monitors, raised $1.5M in Series B
- Powerit Solutions, energy controls, raised $8.5m in Series B and C
- Stem (formerly Powergetics), energy storage, raised $10M in series A
- Urjanet, utility bill aggregation, raised $4m in Series B
The need for organizations to lower costs and to improved operations continues to drive purchases of energy management solutions. Purchasers need to be aware of the changing vendor landscape to ensure the most intelligent and least risky purchase decision.