Clean Urban Energy Raises $7 Million To "Turn Buildings Into Batteries"

A Chicago startup Clean Urban Energy (CUE) raised $7 million in a series A round from Battery Ventures and Rho Ventures, the company announced today.

CUE’s software-as-a-service “exploits the thermal mass of commercial office buildings to make [them] more efficient,” according to a company press statement. The software was developed at the University of Colorado, which struck an exclusive, research and development and licensing agreement with CUE in 2008.

CUE claims it can lower buildings’ energy expenses by 15-30 percent through predictive modeling and optimization. The company can also aggregate energy demand across portfolios of buildings in cities, which means it has the potential to provide more macroscopic benefits.

Utilities and grid operators in big cities could use CUE technology to understand how their biggest customers are using electricity, and to introduce price elasticity in cities, encouraging commercial customers to shift power use away from high- to low-price (and lower demand) periods. Power generated outside of high demand periods generally causes less pollution, today. It also relieves power companies from the need to develop new power generating facilities— like coal or nuclear plants that nobody seems to want in their back yard.

With its new found capital, CUE aims to grow sales throughout cities in the U.S. including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Houston. Jason Matlof from Battery Ventures and Joshua Ruch from Rho Ventures are joining CUE’s board of directors with this round.