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AI-based energy firm AutoGrid bags $32 mn in Series D round

AI-based energy firm AutoGrid bags $32 mn in Series D round
Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle

US-based artificial intelligence-based energy solutions firm AutoGrid, which also has operations in India, has raised $32 million (Rs 231.44 crore) in a Series D round of funding from new and existing investors, a company statement said.

The new investors in the round were a consortium of energy companies—Hong Kong-based CLP Holdings Group, Germany-based Innogy, Denmark-based Ørsted and US-based Tenaska among others.

Existing investors Energy Impact Partners, Envision Ventures, Total Energy Ventures, Clearsky Power and Technology Fund, E.ON and Foundation Capital also put in money, the statement added.

The latest round of funding takes the total capital raised by the company to $75 million.

The company will use the funds to expand its operations in North America, Asia-Pacific and Europe where it will accelerate the commercial deployment of its AutoGrid Flex™ platform and will further increase its product differentiation, the statement said.

AutoGrid’s platform mines data from the energy internet and extracts the highest value from all distributed energy resources. Energy internet refers to a decentralised, vast network that supplies and produces electricity to stakeholders, including individuals and organisations, across the globe in an efficient and clean manner.

“Electricity is the energy of the 21st century. It’s our belief that the transition to a new, clean energy world will be enabled through digital technologies such as AI, big data and Internet of Things,” Girish Nadkarni, president of Total Energy Ventures, stated.

Founded in 2010 by Amit Narayan, an entrepreneur of Indian-origin, the eight-year-old company builds software applications for energy optimisation and control by leveraging new-age technologies such as AI, machine learning, big data and IoT.

Its solutions allow utility companies, electricity retailers, renewable energy project developers and energy service providers to manage networked distributed energy resources (DERs) in real time and at scale. AutoGrid has more than 3,500 megawatts of flexible capacity from DERs under contract, the company added in its statement.

National Grid, NextEra Energy, E.ON, Total, Xcel Energy and China Light & Power are among AutoGrid’s clientele.

Its Indian arm, which is based in Bengaluru, accounts for 35% of the company’s operations. The firm’s product engineering system integration and research and development teams operate from India.

“AutoGrid continues to grow the Bengaluru office and is currently hiring for several positions. As part of their hiring and onboarding programme in India, they take new colleagues to the corporate headquarters (in Redwood City, California) to meet the core team and train with them,” a company spokesperson said in an e-mail response to queries from TechCircle.

Currently, the company is offering demand-side management solutions to the government of Andhra Pradesh to supply electricity in the state. Once implemented, it is expected to translate into cheaper power procurement for farmers, remote activation of pumpsets, reduced power subsidies, saving groundwater and fewer field visits for farmers.

"The cost of AutoGrid’s proposed IoT solution is 100x less than that of solar pumpsets and 10x less than that of smart pumpsets,” the spokesperson mentioned above added.

Other players

A few US-based tech startups with significant Indian operations and Indian-origin founders have raised funding recently.

Earlier this month, US-headquartered AI hardware startup ThinCI Inc., which was founded by Indian-origin entrepreneur Dinakar Munagala, raised $65 million (around Rs 460 crore at current exchange rates) in its Series C round of funding. The company runs its India entity in Hyderabad. The firm’s AI hardware solutions are used in autonomous driving technology and machine learning companies. The solutions are primarily deployed at data centre servers, edge infrastructure platforms and client platforms in business and consumer applications.

In July this year, Automation Anywhere raised $250 million in one of the largest Series A rounds in the venture capital ecosystem. The investment was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Goldman Sachs Growth Equity.

The company was founded as Tethys Solutions in 2003 by four Indian-origin entrepreneurs Ankur Kothari, Mihir Shukla, Neeti Mehta Shukla, and Rushabh Parmani. In India, it has offices in Bengaluru, Baroda and Mumbai. The company primarily uses robotic process automation (RPA) to automate business processes at large enterprises.

In May this year, Arevo Inc., a startup co-founded by Indian-origin entrepreneur Hemant Bheda, secured $12.5 million from a unit of Japan's Asahi Glass Co Ltd and Leslie Ventures. The company has developed a carbon fiber bicycle with a 3D-printed frame. Through the bike, the company hopes to use the carbon fibre to create parts for bicycles, aircraft, space vehicles and other applications. Bheda co-founded Areva in 2013 along with Wiener Mondesir, the firm’s chief technology officer.

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