Three year old Gridco Systems, a startup founded by Namish Patel, the entrepreneur who founded Sycamore Networks, is using digital solid state transformers and software that ingests data in real time in order to create a new type of distributed control and power electronics networking product for utilities that less like a utility tool and more like an Internet product.
Utility companies are buying these software utilities and networking gear from Gridco because they allow them to have more reliability – much like Internet companies currently have. Similar to the Internet providers, utilities companies are hoping to have smarter, self-healing grids that continue operating when a section goes down since other areas of the grid will be able to circumnavigate the downed section.
Venture capitalists have contributed $20 million so far to finance Gridco’s endeavor. Investors such as North Bridge, Lux Capital, RockPort Capital, and General Catalyst are banking on the possibility that Gridco is onto something and will have products that are soon in high demand.
If successful, Patel has visions of expanding his venture to the telecommunications industry and noted that Grido is currently in talks to develop pilot products.
The only shortcoming experts have seen so far is that since Gridco is developing a replacement technology, one that will eventually replace old mechanical transformers, the startup investment may be difficult to initially justify.