OutSmart Power Systems Wraps Up $2M Seed Round

OutSmart Power Systems, a Natick, MA-based startup developing systems to monitor and manage energy usage and other activities in commercial buildings, says it has closed a $2 million seed round of financing.

The financing round, the first part of which was raised last year, included contributions from Bainco International Investors in Wellesley, MA, Northeastern U.S. angel investor Clean Energy Venture Group, and Manifold Products, of Natick. OutSmart was spun off from Manifold in 2008. The initial funding will be used to install a pilot system in the Natick building where OutSmart and Manifold operate, says Stuart Nixdorff, vice president of business development at OutSmart. He notes that the company also expects to raise an undisclosed amount in a Series A round of financing in the coming months.

OutSmart is developing a network, consisting of hardware and software, that monitors energy usage, building occupancy, and other activities in commercial properties. The network includes nodes designed for installation in electrical breakers, outlets, and switches. The nodes are equipped with electronics that calculate electricity consumption and use existing wires in a building to feed that information into a controller. The controllers are linked to servers, where the information can be accessed and viewed over the Internet. The company also plans to sell sensors that connect with the existing electrical infrastructure in buildings to detect motion, temperature, and other conditions. What this all amounts to is a network that allows, say, a property manager view a Web-based interface to monitor the energy usage and other variables in each room of a commercial property.

OutSmart is the latest company launched by Manifold, a firm that spins off tech startups to commercialize products developed by outside inventors and its own engineers. OutSmart is based on technology that Manifold began to develop internally in 2006, says Kevin Johnson, CEO of OutSmart and a founder of Manifold.

“At this point, energy is a bit of a gold rush,” Johnson says, “and the interesting thing for us is that energy management, monitoring and control is just one of the applications that Outsmart enables.”

Indeed, the energy field is getting more crowed with new companies by the month. Networking giant Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO), for example, has unveiled plans recently to help build so-called smart grids to enable utilities to manage their power supplies efficiently. Locally, Boston’s Ember Corporation is also getting into the energy monitoring game with its wireless chips for smart utility meters.

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