Seattle Startup LevelTen Raises $6.8 Million To Ease Renewable Energy Purchasing

by | Oct 16, 2017

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Credit: Mathias Appel, Flickr Creative Commons

The Seattle startup LevelTen Energy has raised $6.8 million from investors for a dynamic two-sided marketplace that helps corporations purchase clean power, GeekWire reported. The platform could make it easier for smaller corporations to buy solar, wind, and other kinds of renewable energy.

LevelTen Energy, led by CEO Bryce Smith, bundles renewable energy projects similar into a portfolio much like a mutual fund. The startup charges its customers a fee equivalent to a small percentage of the contracted energy cost, GreenBiz explained. According to GeekWire, investors in the $6.8 million round of funding included Prelude Ventures, Techstars Venture Capital Fund, Founders’ Coop, Wireframe Ventures, Element 8 Fund, and Avista Development.

Before launching LevelTen Energy last year, Smith headed up a solar power project developer in Seattle and saw firsthand the complexity and challenges involved in renewable energy purchasing. That model enabled the connection of one company to one project only, Smith told GeekWire. “This has been extremely expensive, risky, and of course, has left out everyone except the most sophisticated buyers.”

Instead, LevelTen Energy’s portfolios of renewable energy projects can be sliced into customized volumes, reducing costs and risks, opening up the market, Smith explained to GeekWire. The CEO has compared his startup to what you’d get if and mutual fund giant Vanguard had a baby that cared about clean energy.

“Companies want to buy renewables and developers want to sell renewables, but the challenge was how do you bring them together in a way that actually gets transactions done?” Smith told earlier this year. Indeed, even large corporations have been struggling to access the clean energy they want to meet ambitious goals.

Given all the challenges involved in purchasing renewable energy, mid-sized corporations have several options for making the process less daunting, GreenBiz’s Sara Murphy noted. In addition to LevelTen’s platform, third party aggregators currently include CustomerFirst Renewables and the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center.

LevelTen Energy’s first portfolio will four new wind and solar projects with the capacity to produce 400 megawatts of electricity expected to generate $700 million in electricity revenue over the portfolio’s 15-year life, Smith told Xconomy in May. He’s hoping to make cumbersome RFP processes a thing of the past.

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