Schneider Invests in Uplight at $1.5 Billion Value

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A group of investors led by Schneider Electric SE and Huck Capital has agreed to invest in closely held Uplight Inc. that will value the utility software company at about $1.5 billion.

Schneider and Huck said in a statement Wednesday they are partnering with existing investor AES Corp., and a group consisting of Philippe Laffont’s Coatue Management and Jeff Ubben’s Inclusive Capital Partners on the investment, confirming an earlier report by Bloomberg News. Rubicon Technology Partners, which formed Uplight with AES through the merger of six companies, will also remain a minority investor, according to the statement.

Steve McBee, Chief Executive Officer of Huck Capital, said there has been a shift in recent years in energy investing from power generation and transmission to the type of distributed services Uplight supports, including electric vehicles, storage and solar energy.

“All of that is moving downhill and the game isn’t transmission, it’s about distribution, and distribution is all about getting behind the meter,” McBee said in an interview. “But the thing that I’ve seen as the missing link in institutionalizing that transformation is a software platform that could cohesively integrate and organize all of those distributed services in a rational way.”

Adrian Tuck, Uplight’s chief executive officer, said the company is that “Android-type” provider for these services.

“It doesn’t matter what car, what thermostat, solar panel or battery you have. That’s our play. We’re going to be the software that glues that all together,” he said in an interview.

Uplight plans to use the investment to build out its core software business, expand through mergers and acquisitions, and grow internationally. The Boulder, Colorado-based company intends to leverage the reach of Schneider and AES to expand its reach into Europe, Asia and Latin America.

“We look forward to investing alongside AES and the other financial investors, who all share our vision of a more digital and more electric world, leading to a sustainable future,” said Jean-Pascal Tricoire, chief executive officer of Schneider Electric.

Uplight, formed in 2019, provides edge of the grid technology for more than 80 energy providers across the U.S. and Canada, including companies like Avangrid Inc., Duke Energy Corp. and Alliant Energy Corp., according to its website. It provides utilities with software and devices, including thermostats and smart meters, that enable consumers to monitor and adjust their energy consumption habits to reduce usage and costs, and to draw power from the grid, for example, at the greenest possible times.

Andrés Gluski, AES chief executive officer, said his company initially made its investment because it believed the company would play an essential role in creating a carbon-free future for both energy consumers and providers. AES will invest an additional $40 million as part of the transaction, and following the closing, AES’ ownership in Uplight will be approximately 30%.

“Uplight has proven that digital technologies can be used to enable more efficient use of energy and cost savings, which leads to increased satisfaction for customers and a decreased carbon footprint for utility companies,” he said in an email.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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