CURRENT gets $13M to target international smart grid prospects

CURRENT may be known as one of the early purveyors of the ill-fated broadband over powerline trend that emerged in the late 1990s, but the vendor has found a new life using its technology to target utility smart grid opportunities.

With an emphasis on Europe and Asia, CURRENT has just received $13 million in new funding to develop new powerline-based products for metering, grid reliability, and transformer station communications.

Participating investors in the $13 million funding round include Chinese investor Business Media China, Portuguese investor Espírito Santo Ventures, and existing U.S. investors Associated Partners, EnerTech Capital and Goldman Sachs.

As CURRENT charts its next phase of growth, the vendor also added two new members to its management team. Taking the CEO helm is CURRENT's own Tom Willie, who had served as its Chief Product Officer (CPO), where he oversaw the development of CURRENT's products. Joining Willie is John Du as their new CFO. Prior to CURRENT, Du was the CFO of LCD display screen systems company Ocular.

While CURRENT is not abandoning the U.S. market, one where its equipment is used by the likes of Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and the former Qwest, now CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), to target utility smart grid opportunities, Willie said in an interview with GigaOm that the largest opportunity for its gear is in the European market.

GTM Research forecasts that the cumulative European smart grid market will reach €3.1 billion ($4.29 billion) in 2012 and increase to €6.8 billion ($9.41 billion) in 2016, a 120 percent increase.

Scale is what's making the European and Asian markets a compelling opportunity for CURRENT's smart drive. Unlike the U.S. market where utilities are serving probably about six single family homes per transformer in Europe and Asia, utilities could be serving upwards of 150 to 200 homes per transformer in multi-dwelling units.

For more:
- see the release
- GigaOm has this article

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