Stage: Napkin (idea)
Number of employees: 1-5
Profitable year: 2012
Short URL: vator.co/rencasa
At Rencasa, we provide customer centric, low cost residential demand response by coordinating and aligning the needs of customers, utilities, and smart product manufacturers. Rencasa will enable web-based demand side management for utilities, speed adoption and increase sales of smart appliances for product manufacturers, and provide guidance to customers on which products to purchase. Integrating the needs of these three parties is both critical and lucrative.
We differentiate ourselves from the competition by focusing on the customer. Both product manufacturers and utilities depend on successfully engaging customers (and the financial resource they represent). We believe that by reaching out to and collaborating with utilities and product manufacturers, we will deliver better demand response solutions. Our differentiators are our user interface, customer profiling, direct investment in energy efficiency, and market research.
In terms of resource potential, residential demand side management will represent 50% of demand response potential by 2019. Capturing just 1/10th of 1% of the ancillary services marker would provide $40M in annual revenue. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The activities that support our core business provide an entry point to even greater markets.
We, Rencasa, are positioning ourselves at the smart grid nexus of policy, technology, and customer service. Drivers include national renewable portfolio standards, utility time-of-use pricing, utility failure to produce good customer service, and growing concerns over climate change.
Rencasa’s mission is to facilitate deeper penetrations of low cost demand response through engaging user interfaces, customer load profile and behavior analysis, and crowd-sourced financing. Our goals are to turn customers’ smart meters into a gateway for energy efficiency, to empower utilities to fully leverage their smart grid infrastructure, and to provide direct marketing opportunities to smart appliance manufacturers.
Sarah Russell-Smith, LEED AP, Ph.D. Candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, M.S. Atmosphere/Energy at Stanford University, B.A. Physics at Skidmore College
Noel Crisostomo, LEED AP, M.S. Candidate in Earth Systems Program at Stanford University, B.S. in Earth Systems Program at Stanford University
Samuel Ramirez, M.S. Candidate in Earth Systems Program at Stanford University, B.S. Candidate in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University.
Rencasa’s demand response revenue stream comes from aggregating customer demand into sellable capacity for utilities. Utilities will compensate us for this ancillary service during peak demand times. Additionally, Rencasa proposes to competitively bid into the day-ahead market as an independent power producer. We return a portion of the revenue generated from ancillary services to our customers. This takes the form of free smart and energy efficient appliances, as prizes from participating in conservation games, raffles, and developing their Energy Profile on Facebook. We partner with manufacturers to directly market their products through this system. This engaging and enjoyable game system will create a positive feedback that drives a continual demand for energy efficiency and demand response.
Rencasa uses the Energy Profile information provided by customers, with their permission, to directly advertise energy efficiency retrofits and the installation of distributed renewable energy generation systems. We will also use this information to provide market research to consulting firms and customer feedback information on utilities' demand side management programs.
There are several market and policy drivers for demand response, but there are several barriers to residential homeowners participating and gaining more control over their energy use. A few of these include a lack of information, mind share, a relatively high capital expenditure required for enabling technologies. This is where our free web and iPhone applications with Rencasa Engage, come in. We will provide benefits to the customer including cost risk management by helping people control and visualize their energy use. In turn we will provide utilities with a demand response aggregation service for the residential sector. In addition, we will provide information, reviews, and direct marketing of smart, energy efficient appliances that will enable us to capture revenue from appliance manufacturers.
There are several barriers that prevent the adoption of energy efficiency measures including the lack of information, transaction costs, high capital expenditures, and the fact that energy efficiency occupies a low mind share for utilities. The way Rencasa addresses these problems is with Rencasa Mutual, which lets our customers direct savings during demand response directly into investments into energy efficiency. We believe that our CommunityBuilder and Whole-House Retrofit Finance programs will provide an outlet for customers to engage in a variety of ways while also providing revenue streams from utilities and third parties through market research and consulting.