Interest in electric cars drives sale of V2Green to GridPoint
V2Green, a Seattle startup developing systems to manage the efficient charging of electric vehicles, has been bought for an undisclosed sum by Arlington, Va.-based GridPoint.
Seattle Times business reporter
V2Green, a Seattle startup developing methods for utilities to manage the charging of electric vehicles efficiently, has been bought by an East Coast rival with deep pockets for an undisclosed sum.
Arlington, Va.-based GridPoint, which recently raised $120 million in equity financing, is expected to announce the deal today. V2Green marks the "first step" of a strategy to expand by acquiring other companies, GridPoint said in a statement.
The sale of V2Green, one of the region's most promising clean-technology companies, comes as electric vehicles seem to be gaining momentum as an alternative to fossil fuel-powered vehicles.
Last week, General Motors unveiled the production version of its touted Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid scheduled for launch in late 2010. Toyota also has plans for a plug-in version of its best-selling hybrid Prius.
If such vehicles catch on widely, the key question for utilities will be how the existing electrical-distribution grid will absorb higher demand. That puts the spotlight on companies like V2Green, which has installed its charge-monitoring equipment in plug-in hybrids driven by employees of the city of Seattle, Seattle City Light and others.
The company's software and hardware would enable vehicles to communicate with the grid — for instance, keeping them from charging when power is at a premium, thereby reducing the need for new power plants.
Eventually V2Green hopes to develop ways for vehicles — whose batteries will store electricity — to sell power back to the grid at times of high demand.
The acquisition by GridPoint comes early in the life of V2Green, which was founded in late 2006 by former Microsoft executive David Kaplan.
Chief Executive John Clark said the buyer is "an incredibly well-capitalized group on a mission that's very similar to ours. ... We can spend time out there trying to raise money or we can partner up.
"In this climate, having a lot of dry powder is not a bad thing," Clark said.
GridPoint, with 110 employees, specializes in "smart grid" software that allows for a more efficient distribution of energy by actively managing supply and demand.
V2Green's operations will remain in Seattle and become the center of GridPoint's transportation efforts. It could double its 13-strong payroll within the next 12 months, Clark said. Both he and Kaplan will stay.
Ángel González: 206-515-5644 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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