C3 Leaves Stealth Mode to Shake up Energy Management Software Market

C3 Leaves Stealth Mode to Shake up Energy Management Software Market

After operating in stealth mode for three years, high-profile software startup C3 unveiled its software products and customers this week. Founded by software veteran Tom Siebel, the company raised $45 million and attracted luminaries such as Condoleezza Rice to its Board.

And the company's newly announced software offerings and customers shakes up the market for energy management software.

The company generated considerable interest and rumors as it operated under the radar to refine its software and land initial customers over the last several years.

Based in San Mateo, Calif., the company employees 130 people (80 in San Mateo and 50 in China for development) and sells software that manages energy and emissions for an entire organization. The software optimize activities that "measure, mitigate, and monetize" energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The sophisticated, software-as-a-service (SaaS) suite has five components: C3 Energy (for energy management), C3 Sustainability (for greenhouse gas inventory), C3 Mitigation (to track energy projects and their return), C3 Incentives (a library of government and utility financial incentives), and C3 Foundation (for energy modeling, key performance indicators, security, etc.)

The software products are differentiated in a number of dimensions, including ability to handle massive amounts of data (generated from interval data from utility and submeters), modeling of energy loads, content libraries for federal and utility incentives, and scenario planning. The products are supported by an accomplished senior management team and a strong balance sheet.

The company announced seven customers. Three companies use C3 software to manage their own energy use and projects. These include Pella, a discrete manufacturer, Dow Chemical, and Masdar City, a municipality in the United Arab Emirates.

Four firms deploy C3 software products to enhance services they offer to their customers. These include PG&E, which uses the software as a value added services for its largest commercial and industrial customers, Other companies in this category include Constellation Energy, GE Energy and Siemens.

The business model is sales of software, sold as a subscription service, and software implementation services. The myriad of other needed services, such as energy audits, change management, and system integration, are handled by C3 business partners such as CH2M HILL, Deloitte, and SAIC.

The unveiling of C3 heats up the large and fragmented market for energy management software. Traditional carbon vendors like Hara and ENXSuite that morphed to energy management firms are direct competitors. Companies like EnerNOC, Scientific Conservation, BuildingIQ, Serious Energy, and Clean Urban Energy that focus on commercial office buildings have new competition with C3. Industrial-focused vendors like PowerIT Solutions and EPS Corp will face sales battles with C3 in the future.

The company's goal is to be the global software leader for enterprise energy management software. With substantial capital, an experienced management team lead by a proven CEO, and progressive customers, C3 has a very good shot at the market leadership.