Electricity marketplace WattBuy is the latest Seattle-area energy startup to raise funding

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WattBuy founders Naman Trivedi and Ben Hood. (WattBuy Photo)

Another Seattle-area clean energy startup is raising cash.

This time it’s WattBuy, which just reeled in a $1.2 million seed round led by venture capital firm Powerhouse Ventures to fund the growth of its electricity marketplace.

Last month, Omnidian landed $15 million to finance its solar system protection plan business, and LevelTen Energy brought in more than $20 million for a clean energy marketplace aimed at small and medium-sized businesses.

WattBuy is an earlier-stage startup that aims to give households a simple platform to shop for an electricity provider in states where that is an option. Users are able to upload their electricity usage and compare available plans to save money or buy electricity from a solar or wind energy provider.

“In theory, electricity choice helps end-users engage with their energy consumption. In reality, choosing a plan can be a daunting task for those unfamiliar with electricity markets,” Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch wrote in a blog post. “WattBuy bridges the gap between [renewable energy providers] and retail customers by building meaningful relationships with end-users as a trusted, neutral entity.”

The startup’s platform is currently up and running in Texas, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania — all of which have deregulated electricity markets where customers can choose their electricity provider. These markets exist in more than a dozen states, but only 13 percent of residents actively choose their own provider.

WattBuy hopes to increase the share of customers who participate in the marketplace while earning commissions from renewable energy providers based on the number of new customers who sign up through the platform.

“Consumers have had limited visibility into electricity choice for the last two decades. With WattBuy, residents can finally make intelligent, data-driven decisions to save money and go renewable,” WattBuy CEO Naman Trivedi said in a statement.

(WattBuy screenshot)

WattBuy was co-founded in 2017 by Trivedi and CTO Ben Hood, who graduated from the Techstars Kansas City accelerator last year. Trivedi formerly worked at Google on AdWords and was a science and technology advisor in the Obama White House. Hood was most recently CEO of Polish mobile developer GogoApps. Trivedi is based in Seattle and Hood lives in Washington, D.C. The company also employs four engineers in Hyderabad, India.

The startup recently inked deals with home services startups Hello Alfred and Zego to make it easier for people to select their electricity provider after moving. WattBuy’s other investors include Fort Worth-based Fort Ventures, former Inergy CEO John Sherman, former Rentlytics CEO Justin Alanis, and former Airbnb executive James Beshara.

In addition to the seed round, WattBuy received $265,000 from Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic organization founded by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy Schmidt. That funding supports the startup’s contributions to OpenEI (Open Energy Information), an open data effort from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

“This partnership has the potential to help families save hundreds of dollars on electricity costs, support the adoption of renewable energy plans in deregulated states, and showcase the potential for open energy data,” Kumar Garg, senior director for Schmidt Futures, said of the OpenEI work.

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