By Dow Jones Business News,
February 12, 2014, 12:55:00 AM EDT
Opower Inc., a company that contracts with utilities to help homeowners reduce energy use, has submitted a
confidential filing for an initial public offering, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The Arlington, Va., company has retained Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to lead the underwriting of the
potential IPO, The Wall Street Journal previously reported. It isn't clear what Opower's valuation is or what the value
of the shares it might sell would be.
Opower is making use of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, or JOBS Act, which allows companies with less than $1
billion in revenue the prior fiscal year to start the IPO process without disclosing financial information.
Several companies have filed this way in recent months, including video-camera maker GoPro Inc., high-speed trading
firm Virtu Financial Inc. and online caregiver service Care.com Inc.
An Opower spokeswoman couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
Opower--founded in 2007 by best friends Alex Laskey and Daniel Yates--relies on the concept of peer pressure to induce
homeowners to save electricity. It sends to homeowners paper reports, along with utility bills, that compare the
homeowners' energy use with that of similar homes and give personalized suggestions for how to cut usage. It also
reaches homeowners online and via text messages.
The company charges utilities between three and five cents per each kilowatt-hour its programs take off the grid. The
company says that it saved more than 3.7 billion kilowatt-hours to date. It is now serving more than 22 million homes in
Opower taps into the roughly $6 billion that U.S. utilities spend on energy-efficiency programs annually. Such
programs are often a result of state mandates.
The company has been growing quickly, on relatively little venture capital. It earlier raised a round of investment in
2010, at a valuation of roughly $400 million, and has raised at least $67 million. Over the past year alone, Opower's
staff grew to about 480 from 300.
A successful IPO by Opower would help lift the fortunes of clean-technology startups as a whole, a space that
attracted billions in venture capital and has had major failures. Recently, however, the sector has seen some successes,
including the 2012 IPO of SolarCity Corp. and the sale of Nest Labs Inc. to Google Inc. for $3.2 billion this year.
For New Enterprise Associates and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, two of the venture investors in Opower, a
successful IPO would help redeem some of the losses they have suffered in clean-tech, such as with the bankruptcy of
Fisker Automotive Inc., a company both of the firms backed.
Stuart Bernstein, global head of Goldman's Clean Technology and Renewables Group, said in a recent interview that he
expects "half a dozen to a dozen" companies in the sector go public this year. He said several had already registered
their IPOs confidentially.
Opower has been expanding into other programs for utilities, such as running programs that reduce demand for
electricity at peak times.
Telis Demos contributed to this article.
Write to Yuliya Chernova at yuliya.Chernova@wsj.com and Douglas MacMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org
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