While venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins appears to be retrenching its cleantech investments, the firm also continues to make small investments in young startups focused on the cleanweb, or IT-based cleantech. On Tuesday a Plano, Texas-based startup called Choose Energy announced that it has raised a $4 million Series A investment from Kleiner Perkins and Stephens Capital Partners.
Eight-year-old Choose Energy has developed a service that offers consumers and businesses in deregulated markets options for retail electricity and gas plans. The site is active in Texas, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois, and the company says it will eventually work for the 19 deregulated energy states and 22 deregulated gas states.
While deregulated energy markets have proved to be controversial in some states in the past, as GigaOM Pro analyst Adam Lesser has written, further deregulation could also support business models in areas like smart grid analytics and clean power. It’s been more than a decade since the California electricity crisis and the Enron disaster.
Choose Energy says it is also building tools for retail energy providers to acquire customers based on techniques from telecom, travel, media and other web-heavy industries. The tools used by the cell phone companies to entice new customers to their network are much more sophisticated than what standard retail energy providers are using today. The startup says it has helped 100,000 consumers switch energy suppliers.