Control4 just announced that it has secured an additional $17.3 million in equity financing. Best Buy Capital, Mercato Partners and University Venture Fund join current investors Foundation Capital, Frazier Technology Ventures, Thomas Weisel Venture Partners and vSpring Capital, to accelerate Control4's development in energy management systems and home energy displays for the company's emerging Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) product initiatives. A portion of the financing will be used to extend Control4's sales channels.
AMI includes network management systems, enhanced electric meter capabilities and Home Area Network (HAN) devices as key technologies required to enable the Smart Grid. HAN devices such as energy management systems and displays allow customers to view real-time usage information, enabling active participation of an energy-conscious America. Network management systems allow a new level of excellence in utility operations and customer service.
Control4's proven operating system and HAN management products will enable new in-home solutions and advanced Smart Grid applications, which improve operational efficiency for utilities while delivering exceptional features and benefits for the consumer.
"Our innovative home automation and energy management solutions provide exciting new energy monitoring and control capabilities that meet the needs of utilities and energy-conscious consumers," said Will West, CEO at Control4. "This funding will help us maximize this new market opportunity by advancing Control4's ability to control and integrate with other devices in any residence or business connected to a Smart Grid. With this financing, we can increase our resources to deliver products desired by homeowners, businesses and utility companies alike."
Control4 is at the forefront of efforts to meet growing demand for affordable and energy efficient HANs, including in-home displays and smart thermostats. The company's energy management solutions, combined with the utilities' two-way communication-enabled smart meters, will engage customers in a dialogue about reducing electricity consumption both continuously and at critical peak times. Using ZigBee, Wi-Fi and Ethernet standards, Control4's solutions give them useful, real-time information about their energy consumption. This gives them the ability to control and automate their thermostats, lights, spa or pool, sprinklers and more, to manage power usage. Control4's affordable in-home system can also provide event-based alerts so users can remotely make changes, reducing their utility bills.
"At SmartGridNews.com, we believe the Home Area Network market could be as large as $3 billion annually within the next three years," said Jesse Berst, Managing Director, Global Smart Energy. "The key to reaching this potential will be to deliver a compelling reason for consumers to embrace home area networks. Control4 has the best answer we've seen so far. The company combines technical specs robust enough for the savvy consumer, applications cool enough to make any neighbor jealous and a simple interface that even a grownup can master."
Homes demand more energy than ever before. The Energy Information Administration estimates that by 2030, the home office, family entertainment center and other electronic devices will require more power than refrigeration, air conditioning and heating combined. To meet this demand, investment in smart meters and infrastructure measures in the billions. With the advent of the ZigBee PRO Smart Energy Profile and strong manufacturer support for this IEEE industry standard, utilities are adopting technology to enable in-home demand-response components. In the U.S. alone, 25.3 million ZigBee meters (16% of all meters installed) represent a large HAN market for Control4 to target.