Smart City

Smart City Sentinel

Supporting Reliable Infrastructure: Gridware's Successful Funding for Safer Smart Cities

By Alex Passett

A resilient grid and reliable utilities are a hard must for smart city infrastructure. This is true in several respects.

For one, due support for these is pivotal in terms of achieving optimal use of resources; smarter resource management leads to more efficient energy systems that minimize waste, keep costs down, and contribute to larger sustainability goals. (Then, renewable energy sources can even be integrated in order to foster a “greener” urban environment.)

Ensuring the uninterrupted delivery of critical city services is another drop in the overall bucket. Utilities – which power essentials like healthcare facilities, communication tools and networks at large, plus transportation systems and road-adjacent technologies like smart streetlamps, “electrified roads” for EVs and more – ensure such key components function consistently. This minimizes the risk of service disruptions that may potentially impact city operations and even citizens’ levels of safety and comfort. (The long-story-short of this? Continuity is vital.

And then (albeit a bit more abstracted), there’s still the fact that grids and utilities with baked-in resiliency can become the bedrock for fostering smart city innovations, which require stable platforms for deploying and operating IoT devices, AI systems, etc. Innovators need access to real-time insights and predictive analytics to stay proactive when it comes to instrumental smart city management, so this also shouldn’t be overlooked.

This background brings us to the subject of this news: Gridware.

With a mission of “protecting grids today, and preparing grids for tomorrow,” Gridware collaborates with utility companies to enhance existing grid assets. This approach gives way to the more intelligent usage of cutting-edge tech, which streamlines monitoring and troubleshooting processes like to-the-minute fault detection (e.g. downed lines or equipment failures), outage repairs, and tracking wear and tear on smart city assets. In five U.S. states (California, Washington, Utah, Colorado and Georgia), Gridware is tasked with grid and utility upkeep, with the goal of expanding even further.

So, it’s great news that Gridware announced last week that it raised $10.5 million in a seed extension funding round led by Fifty Years and Lowercarbon Capital (both with websites I recommend visiting, as their passions are made clear when it comes to the backing of companies like Gridware that want to live smarter and fix our planet).

This round of successful funding allows Gridware to continue improving how reliable smart grids and utilities can be, especially when it comes to wildfire mitigation. And, with the help of initial investor support from the likes of TRAC, Hawktail, Kindergarten Ventures and Convective Capital, the funding has been extended to $18.8 million so Gridware can, simply put, do the work right.

"Over the last couple years, Gridware has shown they can prevent forest fires, make the grid more resilient and save utilities money," said Seth Bannon, Founding Partner at Fifty Years. "This is personal for us. Not long ago, the San Francisco sky was orange due to forest fires and we've now seen the same thing happen in NYC. Gridware is helping ensure that never happens again."

This is huge, given the fact that the Department of Energy has estimated that outages unforeseen can cost the U.S. economy upwards of $150 billion annually.

“This is about saving money, of course, but more importantly it’s about saving lives,” said Chris Sacca, a co-founder of Lowercarbon Capital. “Power lines can be a real lifeline in a heat wave. Even a spark can set off a wildfire; the difference for these smart cities when it comes to protection from them is Gridware.”

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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