Tendril Acquires FirstFuel

I am thrilled to announce Tendril’s acquisition of FirstFuel. The move, combined with our previous acquisitions of EEMe and EnergySavvy, makes Tendril the single source for utility customer experience and engagement solutions to North American utilities and their residential  and business customers.

FirstFuel is a terrific fit for the type of company we are building. They have great technology, cultural value alignment and success delivering to utilities. A few examples:

  • FirstFuel is the market leader in utility business customer engagement, with deployments at more than 35 utilities.
  • Business customers are a critical customer segment. They make up 60% of most utilities’ load and revenue, and more than 60% of new programs and products. But these customers are notoriously difficult to engage. FirstFuel has cracked the code to help utilities go deeper than transactional conversations with businesses, using advanced bespoke analytics.
  • FirstFuel has shown results for utility customers, including 25% increases in business customer satisfaction, doublings of digital enrollment/engagement and increases in conversion rates and yields in EE/DSM/electrification programs.
  • They have an incredibly experienced management team and a culture that is well aligned with ours.

Now a bit of context on our M&A strategy.

It’s been penned in industry articles, declared at conferences and discussed at length in utility boardrooms: we have entered into an era of customer centricity. To take it a step further––no longer are power plants, poles and wires a utility’s greatest asset. It’s the customer. Using customer intelligence to exhibit a deep knowledge of the individual and how they interact with energy becomes the crux of personalization and bespoke products and services. Those that adopt this mindset and structure their business accordingly will thrive.

The opportunities could not be clearer. We are excited to see our utility customers rise to the challenge by following the path of customer-centric organizations to provide personalized experiences people have come to love and trust. But implementing the latest data, analytics and artificial intelligence technologies to accomplish this feat is easier said than done. To date, the providers of such technology to utilities have either been large monoliths that aren’t customer-centric or a cadre of innovative customer-first technology providers like Tendril, FirstFuel and EnergySavvy—that force utilities to play the role of system integrators in order to scale.

Our strategy is to acquire leaders in their respective spaces so we can solve this very issue and proudly provide utilities with customer-centric innovation at scale. Not only are we helping utilities be more customer-centric in the spirit of driving business value, we are also helping achieve their carbon reduction goals––driving real environmental and quality-of-life impact.

This idea to build an end-to-end solutions company crystalized for me during conversations with our Advisory Board, a group of 15 utility customer executives we meet with regularly. Through those talks it became clear the current slate of vendors wasn’t meeting our utilities’ needs. Point solution providers were best-in-breed, but integration was a challenge. Large vendors could scale, but they were difficult to work with. They also have no experience innovating around customer-facing solutions and were inflexible to utilities’ emerging needs in the consumer space. What I heard loud and clear was the need for a partner that could provide an end-to-end experience, used best-in-class technologies, and was truly B-to-B-to-C. It was at that time that we began exploring our M&A strategy, which brought us to EEme earlier this year, EnergySavvy last month and now FirstFuel.

With the acquisition of FirstFuel, I am excited to add a team that thinks just as hard about how to make utilities successful as we do. Swap and his company have built a strong reputation in the market, based on great product and careful delivery. Combining with them is truly an opportunity to create a whole that is even greater than the sum of its parts.

It’s exciting to see the  new possibilities from bringing the best that each category offers and I personally can’t wait to show everyone what we are capable of.

We aren’t done yet so watch this space for more news.