California — Leap announced that it has secured a new capital raise totaling $33.5 million from a combination of equity and debt.
The Series B funding, led by Park West Asset Management, a Northern California-based investment management firm, with participation from Climate Capital, My Climate Journey, Williams Trading and David Helgason, Founder and ex-CEO of Unity Technologies, along with existing investors Union Square Ventures, Congruent Ventures, and National Grid Partners.
Silicon Valley Bank funded the debt portion of the capital raise. Leap will leverage this capital to scale and develop its platform to meet the growing demand for market-driven grid services in markets across North America and beyond.
“As the grid transitions to renewable energy and incorporates more smart devices, flexible capacity is essential to balance power grids. Leap has grown 13-fold in load under management over the last two years and, in combination with our partners, our network has already replaced the equivalent of two gas peaker plants. With this new investment, we will continue to expand into new markets and enable our partners and their customers to realize the full value of their technologies in our mission to decarbonize the world’s electric grids,” said Leap Co-Founder and CEO Thomas Folker.
Instead of the previous generation of demand response (DR), where households and businesses responded to requests from utilities in exchange for set rewards, Leap has launched a dynamic, market-driven approach to grid services. Leap makes it easy for smart devices to respond to market pricing signals representing the real-time needs of the electrical grid, reflecting factors such as location and demand, and get paid for it. Leap’s focus on cloud-connected and automated technologies means that end-customers can participate without taking any action themselves and brings new loads and customers into the market.
“The pressure to leverage Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) to bolster grid resiliency is amplified by the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events. Leap’s software solution effectively integrates DERs into energy markets to not only provide value back to the grid when it is needed most, but also enable new revenue streams — a win-win for grid operators, service and technology providers, and the environment alike,” said Tony Bartsh, Portfolio Manager at Park West.
Leap has already delivered significant value back to the grid. During the June heat wave in California, Leap dispatched energy from more than 10,000 commercial and residential sites representing over 375 MWh of electricity to help support the grid and avoid blackouts. Overall, Leap currently has 215 MW under management and more than 20,000 participants on the platform, and dozens of strategic partners including Stem, Inc. and Sunrun. Leap’s partnerships are not limited by load type, as partners can use Leap’s API for any smart device— such as smart thermostats, residential and commercial batteries, electric vehicle chargers, and more.
“Leap’s platform represents a step function change in how connected devices can participate in grid services,” said Nick Grossman, partner at Union Square Ventures. “While Leap’s Series A financing was USV’s first investment in the energy sector, our long history of investing in networked infrastructure and API platforms made it easy for us to recognize Leap’s potential. Our continued investment in Leap reflects our confidence in the role it will play in this sector’s growth.”