Opower Inc., a leading smart grid software company aligns with other few successful software companies and has announced the addition of new board members to their organization. It runs innovative energy-efficiency programs for utilities. If we compare Opower with other software companies who are smart grid or cleantech companies or who have great IPO run in the past 2 years, could affect its fortunes. This announcement has been done on 12 Dec’13 in which the company welcomed few great personalities such as Mark McLaughlin, chairman, president, and chief executive of Palo Alto Networks Inc., to its board, Marcus Ryu, chief executive of Guidewire Software Inc., and Deep Nishar, senior vice president of products and user experience at LinkedIn Corp. All had started on the board in the past few months.
Opower gets the learning opportunities and potential comparisons from the new directors who work with three companies which were high-growth venture-backed software companies that completed successful IPOs in the past two years. According to Capital IQ, EnerNOC Inc., for example, a company that works with utilities and reduces demand for electricity for commercial customers do their business at a price of 1.13 times sales. Silver Spring Networks is a venture-backed smart-grid company that languished in IPO registration for many months but did have a successful IPO at the beginning of this year. Loads of data are being processed by the company, it also collects reads from electronic meters from millions of homes. Consumer’s paper reports, as well as messages via text and email, are sending by Opower where they can give their suggestions on how the use of energy can be reduced as per the circumstances. The company compares the usage of electricity of homeowners to their relatives, neighbours by which peer pressure effect is created and thus it allows people to save more electricity.
Opower business needs to understand few things such as the requirement of the consumer, skills in regulatory and political work, know-how in data processing as they sell to the utilities. The category of companies Opower will fall under in investors’ eyes is a matter of great concern for its IPO, as the share price is comparable which depends often on the performance of companies. There is a big challenge for Opower and this is to present itself as a software-as-a-service play and it should not be burdened by the fact that it sells to a notoriously difficult customer set: utilities. As Opower sells to utilities thus they are adding expertise who is experts in this area or gain specialization in the same by adding people to its advisory board, rather than to the board of directors.