This week, Taiwan energy management startup NextDrive has raised a $10M Series B1 round. Major investors include the Arm IoT fund and the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund; the former is an early-stage fund sponsored by Arm Holdings, a global semiconductor company owned by the Japanese Softbank Group and its Vision Fund, and the latter is a fund managed by the WI Harper Group.
Founded in 2014, the company has been known for its smart home devices, NextDrive Cube and Plug. It pivoted to energy management in 2017 and later secured a Series A round led by the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund for its hardware design and data-gathering technology.
A few weeks ago, NextDrive announced that the two devices will no longer be sold in Taiwan and NextDrive Connect, the app that connects them with mobile devices, will be unavailable by the end of August.
Meanwhile, the company has been developing its energy management business in Japan, where it introduces Cube J1 to promote the implementation of Home Energy Management System (HEMS), a technology platform that monitors and automates the use of energy within households. Connected with smart meters, the device serves as a gateway to such platform.
NextDrive says the energy market in Japan is still in its early stage of development. But the demand for devices like Cube J1 can be huge, as the Japanese government plans to install 80 million smart meters by 2023, according to Business Next. The firm has been selling this solution to Chubu Electric Power and Chubu Electric Power, two of Japan’s ten leading energy companies.
Alongside the liberalization of the energy market, these companies are then allowed to sell Cube J1 to households to know how they consume electricity so as to better decide how much to supply and thus reduce the cost of generation.
With the product, consumers are able to monitor their use of electricity and lower utility bills. It also allows them to store electricity from the grid during off-peak hours.
With the strategic investment from Arm IoT Fund, NextDrive says it looks to expand into other global markets and plans to further develop its services based on Pelion, Arm’s IoT platform that integrates connectivity technology with data and connected devices management. The goal is to "help its clients extract new value from fragmented data and offer a one-stop platform for energy management," the firm says.