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Practical Magic

Investors bet big on energy data startup Arcadia

Squeezing data out of utilities is hard. Arcadia just raised $200 million to make the process simpler.

Arcadia data art

Arc covers data from 125 utilities — about 80 percent of U.S. electricity accounts. Image courtesy of Arcadia

Does your company know exactly how much energy it uses? What efficiency incentives are available for its facilities? Where are the most beneficial sites for its clean energy investments? What tariffs are involved?

Answering such questions is table stakes for planning carbon emissions reductions and renewable power procurements, but getting accurate data from utilities is still remarkably difficult for one location, let alone multiple sites.

That’s the challenge addressed by data analytics company Arcadia, which is developing software to provide access to scads of commercial energy data. Its customers already include the likes of Ford Motor Co., along with climate tech powerhouses such as EnelX and Aurora Solar.

The Washington, D.C.-based venture this week raised $200 million in a Series E funding round. The infusion, which essentially doubles Arcadia’s backing, includes the inaugural investment from J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s Sustainable Growth Equity Fund. And it values the eight-year-old company, which employs about 250 people, at $1.5 billion — a unicorn in the eyes of the finance world.

"We built a platform that can unlock the meter-level data — individual by individual, business by business," said Arcadia CEO Kiran Bhatraju when I spoke with him about the new financing. "The big idea behind the company is that we are not going to decarbonize fast enough unless this data is easy to access."

We built a platform that can unlock the meter-level data — individual by individual, business by business.

In tech parlance, Arcadia’s Arc software is a B2B2C play — meaning it enables information to be exchanged from business to business to consumer. The company claims about 100 customers today. Many are companies that sell clean energy technologies — community solar developers, on-site energy storage equipment vendors, electric vehicle fleet managers or energy efficiency service providers; they’re using the data for sales and for managing customer relationships. 

These companies access Arcadia’s data by using application programming interfaces to set up links between its analytics databases and their own systems, enabling them to access a customer’s or customer prospect’s information, Bhatraju explained. That data can be used to estimate scenarios such as the hosting capacity of a site for energy storage assets or the carbon offset potential of a particular community solar service or the incentives and/or tariffs that might play into the calculations. That information can be shared with the company or person evaluating an investment, helping with the evaluation. 

The funding disclosed this week will be used to expand the information that the Arc platform can provide and to gather intelligence from utilities outside the United States. Currently, Arc covers data from 125 utilities — about 80 percent of U.S. electricity accounts. The infusion will also be used to build more applications for companies seeking to decarbonize their operations.

"One of our newest applications for data is around carbon accounting," Bhatraju said, pointing to Arcadia’s ability to report actual kilowatt-hours and other energy usage metrics.

The Arc platform evolved out of Arcadia’s roots in the community solar industry: It manages payments and customer data for projects with a capacity of more than 700 megawatts.  

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