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Energy Technology Ventures – a GE-NRG Energy-ConocoPhillips venture – has invested in On-Ramp Wireless, developer of wireless networks for energy automation, as part of the company’s Series C capital raise. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
San Diego-based On-Ramp Wireless will use the funds to further commercialize its Ultra-Link Processing™ (ULP) Smart Grid and Digital Oil Field solutions. ULP’s total reach, the ability to cost-effectively connect billions of hard-to-reach devices deployed in dense urban settings, located below ground, and in remote environments, is an industry first. ULP’s cellular-like wireless network is globally available and is deployed in critical infrastructure and Smart Grid deployments around the globe. On-Ramp was also awarded a grant by Department of Energy to develop a wireless network to monitor underground circuits to improve grid reliability and has deployed the projects with both San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Edison. The ULP network enables secure and reliable transmission of data with minimal infrastructure, significantly reducing initial capital costs and reducing overall total cost of ownership by greater than two-times over existing technologies.
“With its ULP technology, On-Ramp Wireless can support numerous applications that were previously cost-prohibitive to integrate with communications technology. This enables a new class of wireless automation software services for the energy industry,” said Kevin Skillern, GE Energy Financial Services’ managing director of venture capital and representative of Energy Technology Ventures. “We also believe there is significant potential to apply the technology in other infrastructure segments.”
Joaquin Silva, president and CEO of On-Ramp, said, “Energy Technology Ventures’ investment will not only assist in the continued development and implementation of our patented wireless technology, but it also recognizes the critical contribution these technologies can provide to transform utility and oil and gas operations.”
On-Ramp was selected as one of ten winners of the GE ecomagination Challenge’s phase two “Powering Your Home” program, announced last June. The ecomagination Challenge demonstrates GE’s global commitment to accelerate the development and deployment of innovative technologies through open collaboration, while providing financial support to develop and commercialize innovative technologies. The investment in On-Ramp is one of many in GE’s push to develop its “Industrial Internet,” a network of Internet-connected devices that will collect and communicate data. In addition, On-Ramp is a participant in GE’s $20 million ecomagination Accelerator program, which is an offshoot of the $200 million ecomagination Challenge. The ecomagination Accelerator program is designed to scale offerings of leading start-up companies, utilizing GE as a global growth platform.