Monday, June 22, 2009

EcoDog (Household Energy Management)

EcoDog, maker of a so-called “watchdog” device that lets consumers patrol their home energy use, is the latest in a series of startups rolling out simple household energy management systems — withTendril and Trilliant perhaps the most well known. A little late to the game, it just secured an undisclosed amount from angel investors toward a $4.6 million round of capital.

Notably, one of the investors is Tom Page, the former head of major California utility San Diego Gas & Electric, and Enova, its parent company that is now known as Sempra Energy.

Like many of its competitors, EcoDog’s FIDO Home Energy Watchdog system lets consumers break down home energy use by appliance and dollars spent. It consists of both software and hardware sensors that attach to your computer and circuit breakers. EcoDog says the system, which lets consumers view information directly on their home computers, will give them a sense of how expensive power is at different times of day — the biggest step toward conservation. When paired with controllable switches and appliances, the device has the ability to turn off appliances and electrical outlets on its own.

This all sounds well and good, and smart grid concepts like this are enjoying widespread support these days. But it’s unclear how EcoDog plans to differentiate itself from the growing field of similar companies. In addition to Tendril and Trilliant, you have Greenbo, EnergyHub and even Google and Intel trying to do roughly the same thing. At this juncture, it looks like a wave of consolidation in the space is increasingly likely. And if there is a breakout star, it will probably be a startup that started raising capital earlier.