Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Smart energy start-ups to receive funding from Microsoft

Iain Morris
August 19, 2014
Several start-ups developing smart energy technologies for use inside the home are to receive financial support from US software giant Microsoft.

Some ten start-ups working on home automation products have been chosen by Microsoft (Seattle, WA, USA) to join an accelerator it is running in partnership with insurance player American Family Insurance.

The software company first announced plans for the accelerator in June amid soaring interest in the potential for home automation technologies.

In its latest announcement, Microsoft said the goal of the accelerator would be to help a new generation of companies create smarter and safer homes.

It claims to have met with companies across the US over the past two months and to have “dug through more than 400 applications” to find the most promising companies.

These include Heatworks, which says it has created the first fully electronic connected water heater that conserves water and energy in any application, and Plum, whose Wi-Fi enabled light pads, smart plugs and outlets allow users to control lights and electronics through use of a smartphone.

Chai Energy, another start-up selected for the accelerator, has developed a gateway that gathers information about energy usage from smart meters and then provides advice on how consumers could be reducing costs.

Microsoft says that through its partnership with American Family Insurance the start-ups will receive the mentorship, tools and connections they need to accelerate business growth.

The relationship with the insurance player is deemed critical given its “unique understanding” of the way that smart technology developments could proactively protect policyholders.
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