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By Ken de la Bastide The Herald Bulletin Mar 13, 2016
ANDERSON — A company that started operations in Anderson in 2011 has received a $4 million investment.
Lisa Laughner, president and CEO of Go Electric, said the investment was led by GXP Investments Inc., the investing arm and wholly-owned subsidiary of Great Plains Energy Inc., and included Elevate Ventures and the Clean Energy Trust.
The funding will support Go Electric’s LYNC DR product line, grow the Go Electric team, and expand the company’s energy solutions into utility demand response markets across the country. In addition, GXP Investments will add two seats to the Go Electric board of directors.
LYNC is a patented technology that instantly provides AC electrical power at the correct frequency, phase and voltage from any AC and DC power sources, according to the company website.
Laughner said the $4 million will be used to complete the development and secure certification of the equipment.
She said the company employs four people and recently hired three additional workers. Laughner said another eight jobs will be added eventually.
“We’re just thrilled to be in Anderson,” she said. “It’s thrilling to grow in Anderson.”
She said the company is in Anderson for the long run.
Chuck Staley, CEO of the Flagship Enterprise Center, said the $4 million investment is significant for any company.
"They's done a great job of moving forward," Staley said. "They have been very conservative. For a young company to attract $4 million is a milestone."
Staley said the investment funds will allow Go Electric to do some additional testing and to hire more engineers.
"They have clients from Hawaii to the East Coast," he said. "It's a company that will grow in Anderson."
Staley said eventually Go Electric could move some of its operations into the Purdue Polytechnic facility currently under construction.
Go Electric has its offices at the Flagship Enterprise Center and testing is done at the Anderson Innovation Center.
Greg Winkler, executive director of the Anderson Economic Development Department, said the investment means that Go Electric is attracting attention as a result of the successes it has experienced.
"Go Electric has impressed the Department of Defense," he said. "Part of their major initiative is to have all military bases energy independent and Go Electric is a key part of that effort."
Winkler said every product that Go Electric manufactures is unique.
"A lot of the value in their products is the software, which they have obtain patents for, and the way it works," he said.
Go Electric has military and commercial customers in Hawaii and New York, and recently completed a three MW operational demonstration at Camp Smith, Hawaii, for the SPIDERS Phase III micro grid project. The company is delivering four systems for the RISE:NYC program and was recently awarded the Wells Fargo IN2 award.
Those programs were part of a 2014 grant awarded to the company by the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Energy to develop a micro-grid for the Marine base in Hawaii.
The company will incorporate cyber-secure micro grid solutions that will instantly switch to backup generators in the event of an electrical grid failure.
“Go Electric’s unique business model and technology are game changers for utility demand response markets,” Dennis Odell, director, GXP Investments, said in a press statement. “Go Electric’s LYNC DR solution offers utilities the ability to use their customers’ energy resources for demand response without any interruption to customer operations. And the company’s ‘give it away for free’ business model is industry leading for implementing customer-side-of-the-meter demand response systems.”
Last year Go Electric was part of a demonstration day at the White House.
It was part of an initiative by President Barack Obama to get investors to put their money in good, smart startups. For Laughner, it was an opportunity to showcase what Go Electric is all about.
Go Electric sells a "micro-grid in a box." Essentially, Go Electric makes a power box that hooks up to a building, providing uninterrupted power to the business or company. The micro-grid is independent of the existing power grid, meaning buildings would have the capability of continuing to run even if something catastrophic happens to the power grid. It's different than a backup generator because the micro-grid is always working.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.