SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--PowWow Energy, a new startup providing SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions for increasing water use efficiency, has come in first among finalists for a share of $27 million in new funding to bring energy efficiency to the agriculture and water sectors. The California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded $2,300,000 to PowWow to fund two years of large-scale implementation for its second product, Irrigation Advisor™, on five Central Valley farms spanning more than 1,600 acres. This includes careful validation of energy and water savings while maintaining or improving yield. The project is carried out in collaboration with the Energy Efficiency Institute at UC Santa Barbara, and the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis.
In addition, PowWow secured $700,000 in angel funding from Family Offices in California and Colorado, to provide cost matching and accelerate the growth of its first SaaS product, Pump Monitor with smart leak detection, during the drought. “We benefited from the support from several communities in Northern and Southern California who saw a need to act while the VC industry is still trying to understand the water conundrum,” stated PowWow CEO Olivier Jerphagnon, who was also co-organizer of the first hackathon for agriculture supported by the USDA. “We won’t solve the water crisis and create economic opportunities without taking the best of Central Valley and Silicon Valley together.”
This is not the first time PowWow has finished first in its class. It was awarded the top prize at the Cleantech Open in 2013, among 400 start-ups that applied to the national accelerator. The win was instrumental in connecting PowWow with other pioneering companies in agriculture at the Water Efficiency Technology (WET) center on Fresno State’s campus. Both programs are supported by Wells Fargo. “We are excited to see a winner of Cleantech Open grow to address such a critical issue in rural communities,” said Ashley Grosh, Vice President, Wells Fargo Environmental Affairs.
“We invited PowWow Energy to join our cohort of start-ups in Fresno, and we have been very impressed with how they listened to local growers and forged new relationships in farming,” stated Helle Petersen, General Manager of The WET center. “There are opportunities in agriculture to improve water use efficiency and energy efficiency.” Farming and food processing in the Central Valley represents a $20 billion industry.
One of PowWow’s new relationships is with Mike Chrisman, former California Secretary for Natural Resources, who joined the Advisory Board of the company. “I have been impressed with how Olivier and his team quickly grew the platform and brought a new approach to water and energy management,” explained Chrisman, who is from a fourth-generation farming family in Visalia.
PowWow’s Irrigation Advisor provides a full irrigation management solution – without requiring any hardware – by integrating pump monitoring data with aerial imagery from partners and local data from existing farming records. The CEC grant project covers almond, alfalfa, pistachio and tomato farms. These crops alone equal a total of 2.4 million acres in California. The grant project will show how the platform can potentially save every year 250,000 acre-feet of water, reduce energy consumption by 100 gigawatt-hours, and cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 25,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent. Critically, it will demonstrate the value to the bottom line of growers who face a historical drought across the Western United States.
About PowWow Energy
PowWow Energy, Inc. (http://www.powwowenergy.com) is a leading innovator in the Agriculture & Food sectors. Based in California, our team leverages Big Data and emerging Internet of Things technologies to provide simple answers to farmers in the field. By helping them manage risks in their daily operations, we help them save water and energy while improving their bottom line. Our first SaaS application, the Pump Monitor with smart leak detection™, was a Cleantech Open 2013 winner. We have since extended our capabilities using the same no-hardware, Software-as-a-Service business model to ease farming operations, and further improve water use efficiency and energy efficiency.