Our newest tenant on the second floor of 642 Harrison in San Francisco has a goal to make the world more energy-efficient. It’s a pretty lofty goal for a company only founded in 2007. Opower is a software as a service company that partners with utility companies to promote energy efficiency. According to their website, Opower is a new customer engagement platform for the utility industry. It reinvented the way utilities interact with customers—from the quality of the information provided to the way it’s presented and delivered. It helps people use energy more efficiently and ultimately save money on their energy bills. And it vastly improves the overall customer experience by making energy use personally relevant. For example, when monthly invoices arrive at a customer’s home, they can see the average utility bill cost in their neighborhood, along with suggestions on how to reduce their energy consumption. If they are well over the average compared to other homes in the area, they then have Opower’s suggestions right at their fingertips to help alleviate some of their energy costs.
Opower decided to PMI Properties’ 642 Harrison would be a great candidate for their next office because of its size and prime location. Opower’s decision to choose Harrison in the competitive SoMa market was featured in this article as well: Big Race for Space in SoMa, Wall Street Journal, January 26 2012.
They also have established an online presence with social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as having their own, “Hey, it’s OPOWER!” blog. Their website has many interesting and innovative ways to share information about their vision and what the company has accomplished. There is an “OMeter” page that keeps a running tab on how many kilowatt-hours Opower has saved, and lists some interesting facts on what could be done with all that energy. Opower also finds ways to engage and entertain their employees. Their website lists activities such as a quarterly company outing, innovation day, soccer and ping-pong teams, and the ability to bring your dog to work.
Opower was founded in 2007 by long-time friends Dan Yates and Alex Laskey. When they started their company, lots of people were excited about cleaner energy production using renewable energy sources, like the sun and wind. Dan and Alex knew that these sources wouldn’t be tapped in the short-term, even though they are important. Their answer to reducing carbon emissions right now was curbing wasteful use of the types of energy produced today. By utilizing the 1.4 billion utility bills that are mailed to customers each year, they would be able to send energy-saving ideas to hundreds of millions of households. After creating a prototype, they went to two of America’s major energy markets, California and Texas. The amount of interest they received from utilities, state legislators, and environmental groups soon led to first round venture capital funding from MHS Capital.
They have garnered support from other green centered companies, as well as President Barack Obama. He visited their headquarters in Arlington, Virginia in 2010 and praised their work ethic and success during the hard economic times in addition to their ability to provide clean energy jobs. They have been featured in articles from The Wall Street Journal, Techcruch, CNN, and Green Tech Media, to name a few.