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OhmConnect raises $55M Series D for gamifying demand-response

Illustration of a digital power grid map forming a dollar sign.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

OhmConnect's consumer-facing, game-like approach to easing demand on the grid attracted a $55 million Series D.

Why it matters: Plenty of climate-tech startups are taking on demand-response. But OhmConnect's unusual approach not only stuck with investors, it stoked an eight-figure fundraise in what's otherwise become a punishing environment for later-stage rounds.

What's happening: OhmConnect pays households to reduce their electricity use during peak demand. Participants can win prizes, too.

  • The virtual power plant program is active in three electricity markets and looking to expand to all seven major markets in the U.S., a spokesperson tells Axios.

Driving the news: The Series D was led by ClearSky, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners and Telus Ventures.

  • Carrier and SunPower, which announced a strategic partnership with OhmConnect in March, also participated.
  • Further investors include City Light Capital, Floodgate, Citi Impact Fund, Elemental Excelerator, Radicle Impact and the Japan Energy Fund.

What they're saying: "Grid edge flexibility is incredibly difficult to aggregate and orchestrate at the residential level at scale," Brian Barlow, co-CEO of Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, tells Axios.

  • What caught his firm's eye: Bringing "a gamified engagement platform" with energy consumption.
  • The big risk: "The regulatory environment not evolving fast enough for this to make an impact at scale," Barlow tells Axios.
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