Not everyone in cleantech and energy is struggling, real as the challenges in those sectors may be. The Boston Business Journal reports via an SEC filing that energy efficiency firm Next Step Living has raised another $18.2 million in funding, part of a planned $24 million round, according to the filing.
The document lists Lee Burrows of VantagePoint Capital as a related person, suggesting that firm likely led the round. No confirmation from Next Step, but I did speak to investor Rob Day of Black Coral Capital who confirmed the new funding.
“We’re really pleased to see that folks from the top line venture community are realizing what next step has been able to build here,” Day told me. “It’s really poised to prove out some important things for the sector.”
The company had previously raised $5 million in equity and another $4 million in debt, according to BBJ. For more info on the company check out my profile from October:
While high profile cleantech startups continue to go bankrupt, Next Step has done work in 20,000 homes and grown to over 400 employees, hiring for a wide range of skill and education levels. Though the luster of green jobs may have vanished at the national level, it’s alive and well at Next Step. It’s a success story built around strong execution rather than exclusive IP, and potentially a model for venture capitalists looking to reset their approach in the energy space.
Basically, Next Step Living is going into homes to do energy audits, retrofits, and in some cases, renewable energy installations. To get in the door, they’re partnering with community organizations and other trusted groups, thereby creating a new and valuable channel for the sale of energy products and services.
The next phase, which Day said will ramp up with the new funding, is to utilize the data that the company can collect to better target its efforts. Essentially, you want to knock on the doors that could gain the most from improving their energy efficiency. The round will also help fuel additional geographic expansion.
This is a pure execution play, and it’s great to see its continued momentum. Cleantech needs more wins, and there’s reason to think Next Step could eventually be one of them.