BTV Climate Tech Firm Sold
Some mission-driven entrepreneurs could never imagine selling their growing business, whereas other entrepreneurs start an enterprise with the primary goal to sell it one day.
It appears Paul Hines, Mads Almassalkhi and Jeff Frolik have found the entrepreneur’s version of the Goldilocks Zone when the company they cofounded, Packetized Energy located in Burlington, was acquired by EnergyHub. Hines and all the full-time employees are not only staying on with EnergyHub and continuing their work in Vermont, but also are expanding operations.
“Paul and the staff are going to continue working on a number of initiatives, including the integration of Packetized Energy’s technology into EnergyHub’s software solutions for the electricity industry. EnergyHub is growing and hiring rapidly and looks forward to growing the size of its workforce in Vermont. The fact that EnergyHub sees Vermont as a strategic place to grow speaks to the strength of our State's talent pool and growing climate tech sector,” said Frolik.
It seems to be a perfect match for the two tech companies. Packetized Energy develops software and hardware that communicates with electrical grids to balance the power demand with supply. EnergyHub’s platform harnesses distributed energy resources like smart thermostats, batteries, and electric vehicle chargers to transform complexity at the grid edge into reliable resources for utilities and energy markets. Incorporating Packetized Energy’s technology into the EnergyHub platform will enable massive scale – enabling control of tens of millions of devices – and accelerate the company’s effort to decarbonize the power system.
“We weren’t looking to sell necessarily, but we are always looking for a way to get our solution to a scale that could have a meaningful impact on the electricity industry. We still don’t see technologies that can compete with ours in terms of real-time flexibility, and EnergyHub represented an excellent partner that could help us bring our tech to scale . So teaming up made good business sense,” said Frolik.
Like so many small businesses across the country during the pandemic, Packetized Energy had to telework and hold meetings via video conference, but given the nature of the work the company was able to continue to improve its technology and develop new projects, as opposed to just getting by.
“The pandemic certainly impacted our ability to build out our in-home products utility programs, but we were fortunate that at the beginning of the pandemic we also were developing a network planning tool under a federal project. That work was primarily software, which could continue being developed under remote work conditions. So, we never really had to shut down,” said Frolik.
Since Packetized Energy was founded in 2016, the company has received grants from the federal government, including a Small Business Technology Transfer grant in 2017. The STTR program, which is overseen by the Small Business Administration, encourages small businesses to engage in federal research and development with the potential for commercialization.
“Every once in a while, a company really stands out. Packetized Energy is one of those companies,” said Darcy Carter, SBA Vermont District Director. “When I first met them three years ago, I was amazed. Here is a small business working out of the Chace Mill in Burlington that is revolutionizing how we consume energy. The technology is something that the general public may not really understand, but it’s impactful work that is being done right here in Vermont. Good for them for scaling up and moving forward.”