Having your building become a virtual power plant sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but Blueprint Power is making this a reality. This NYC startup is pushing boundaries using machine learning to manage clean energy resources in buildings. Buildings become autonomous power plants and any surplus energy produced can be sold to existing power markets.
AlleyWatch spoke with cofounder and CEO Robyn Beavers about Blueprint Power’s recent funding and how real estate is the perfect vessel to bring clean energy to the world. This is the second funding round for the startup founded in 2017.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We just closed a $3.5M Series A funding round led by Congruent Ventures, MetaProp Ventures, Fred Wilson, and Brad Burnham. Founding investors Lennar and Fifth Wall Ventures participated alongside other investors including 174 Power Global (a subsidiary of Hanwha Energy) and Craig Robins (DACRA).
Tell us about the product or service that Blueprint Power offers.
Blueprint turns buildings into virtual power plants. We use machine learning to help manage any onsite clean energy resources – including solar, battery storage, combined heat and power, fuel cells, you name it – to produce excess capacity which we then sell into a number of existing power markets. As a result, we will help building owners increase the utilization of their onsite energy equipment while maximizing returns for them.
For our team, Blueprint is just a natural progression from everything we’ve all been working on either separately or together. I personally have been working in clean energy since my time at Google in the mid-2000’s where I launched the firm’s first green strategy team. That got me hooked on energy for good and I’ve spent my entire career thus far pushing forward new energy strategies, innovations, and technologies from various vantage points (including real estate). My cofounders, Claire Woo & Nick Squires, and other team members Nick Schmidt and Savannah Goodman, all bring similar but complementary expertise from industry leaders like Bosch, NRG, Tesla, and Boeing. At a macro level, the trends in deregulation, the falling cost of distributed energy resources, and some regulatory shifts, all point to great market timing.
How is Blueprint Power different?
Blueprint’s platform can connect to any distributed energy asset that a building might have and can also transact in multiple energy marketplaces. We are designing for flexibility in the rapidly evolving electricity markets in cities around the world.
What was the funding process like?
Blueprint is a true blend of real estate, energy, and tech so we talked to a similar blend of investors as well. We learned a lot, received great feedback, and also met some great connections and future partners. It ended up being a bit of a hybrid sales & fundraising process.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our amazing team had a lot to do with it – everyone on the team brings deep experience as entrepreneurs and innovators in all of Blueprint’s relevant industries. But Blueprint brings a unique approach and big vision paired with pragmatic problem solving and product mindset that is required to pull this off.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We’ll be focused on the next stage of development with our initial customers.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Don’t give up! And listen. Beyond the purpose of raising money, fundraising is an opportune time to receive useful feedback and advice about your business.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Blueprint started out of the URBAN-X space at the A/D/O facility in Greenpoint and we used to eat lunch every day at a small little vegan spot called Acai Berry. I would eat their pumpkin soup every day if I could.