GE, Kleiner Perkins And Others To Put $63 Million In 10 Home Energy Tech Companies

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GE, Emerald Technology Ventures, Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, RockPort Capital and Carbon Trust Venture Capital Partners will invest in $63 Million in 10 home energy technology companies, as part of the company’s $200 million “GE ecomagination Challenge.” As we wrote last year, the initiative is meant to help spur advances in green technologies.

The second phase of the challenge sought green tech ideas to power the home, specifically addressing household energy efficiency including management software, appliances and air conditioning; and renewable power, from solar, wind, hydro and biomass.

The 10 new concepts that received funding from the challenge include Ember, GMZ Energy, Hara, Nuventix, On-Ramp Wireless, Project Frog, SunRun, Viridity Energy, VPhase, and WiTricity.

GE says it will commit an additional $20 million in funding for scaling and commercializing ideas from the Challenge through a new ecomagination Innovation Council. And both GE and its VC partners plan to launch a region-specific ecomagination Challenge in China later this year, as well as establishing a $5 million seed fund in Europe with Carbon Trust for eco-friendly tech ideas.

GE and Best Buy will be partnering to fast-track the commercial availability of two Challenge winner technologies— the VPhase home energy control device and the Suntulit air conditioning control system, so they can be ready for retail testing through select Best Buy retail channels.

Since launching in July 2010, GE has reviewed 5,000 business plans and ideas, acquired one of the companies, made 22 investments and commercial partnerships, and provided additional seed funding to 10 start-ups.