citybiz+ SparkMeter Secures Strategic Partnership, $5M Investment from Honeywell

SparkMeter, which develops tools to manage electrical grids, has received a $5 million strategic investment under a global partnership with Honeywell Smart Energy, a unit of the Charlotte, N.C.-based conglomerate. So far, Washington, D.C.-based SparkMeter has raised a total of $41.2 million, since its founding in 2013.

Honeywell Smart Energy, based in Baton Rouge, La., is one of the world’s largest digital providers to utilities, and is expected to help SparkMeter’s pivot to the U.S. market, after years of focusing on microgrids in emerging markets.

Under the partnership, the Honeywell unit will push SparkMeter’s cloud-based metering and operational analytics software to its base of utility customers in the United States, and SparkMeter’s metering hardware to large emerging-market countries.

Energy Enthusiast

“Our goal is to enable greater grid resilience by partnering with leaders like Honeywell Smart Energy to bring our plug-and-play grid management technology to address the needs of utilities in all markets,” said SparkMeter co-founder and CEO Dan Schnitzer, a self-described energy enthusiast since eighth grade.

“I just have an intrinsic interest in energy. I see energy as this enabler of opportunity and energy — if I have access to clean, reliable electricity, in particular, that means that I am going to be much more empowered and have many more opportunities as an individual on the planet than if I didn’t,” he once told the Bigger Than Us podcast.

Schnitzer has a Ph. D in Engineering & Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University. Before co-founding SparkMeter, he was an energy analyst at DNV GL, a so-called international accredited registrar and classification society headquartered in Høvik, Norway. Schnitzer is also a co-founder of the nonprofit EarthSpark International, which runs several energy initiatives in emerging markets. He has served as a consultant to the United Nations Office for Project Services in Haiti, and the World Bank.

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Tailored Solutions
When working for EarthSpark in Haiti, Schnitzer discovered that smart meters used by large utilities in the United States and Western Europe could not be scaled down to serve emerging markets. “So we set out to take our own approach to do smart metering. And we had this realization as we were developing the technology that this has broader applicability beyond our little project in Haiti,” he said, of SparkMeter’s origin.

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SparkMeter currently operates in more than 25 countries, offering a range of services such as billing, customer communications, and remote monitoring and control. SparkMeter’s technology helps utilities circumvent electricity and revenue loss arising from inefficient load management or payment challenges. It also enables utilities to tap into new grid dynamics such as distributed energy resources and EV chargers.

The company’s innovative approach to smart grid technology enhances visibility into a utility’s operational and financial performance, said Kinnera Angadi, chief technology officer of Honeywell’s Smart Energy and Thermal Solutions. SparkMeter’s “success in emerging markets complements our commitment to driving operational excellence and sustainability across the utility sector,” he added.