GridPoint: Misalignment through Acquisition and Channel Partnerships

Over the past 12 years, GridPoint has struggled to identify itself as a leader in the energy efficiency space.

GridPoint was founded in 2003 as a “smart grid” company, and it has, at times, been both a highly effective and ineffective organization in terms of alignment between its business and operating models. In many ways, the company has continued to exist for 12 years because it acquired companies in alignment with its goals and pivoted in a dynamic industry. But these acquisitions also forced GridPoint to change its mission and core business model every time a new company was brought into the fold. About a year after GridPoint purchased an energy management company called ADMMircro in 2009, there was was a huge round of layoffs, particularly focused on the employees of Standard Renewable Energy and V2Green. [1] These were companies GridPoint had also purchased in earlier years, whose primary businesses (retrofits and software), were at one time in line with GridPoint’s goals but, with the acquisition of ADMMicro, no longer aligned with GridPoint’s decision to focus on building energy management moving forward.

GridPoint1 copy

Today, GridPoint is a hardware, software, and services company that continues to use the ADMMicro model and focuses on energy management. According to the company website:

GridPoint is an innovator in comprehensive, data-driven energy management and energy control solutions (EMS) that leverage the power of real-time data collection, big data analytics and cloud computing to maximize energy savings, operational efficiency, capital utilization and sustainability benefits. [2]

The company has a number of multi-site retail clients like Target and Walgreens. After installing the metering hardware at a site, GridPoint pulls site and channel-level energy data (like lighting, HVAC, and refrigeration) into their own internal software. GridPoint creates value by selling hardware, software, and services that include report generation and advising clients on how to reduce their energy usage and save money based on trends and anomalies in the data at both the site level and across an organization.

GridPoint implements this business model with a very complicated and opaque pricing model that is somewhat negotiable with every customer. In addition, GridPoint has entered into partnerships with companies like ADT and EnerNOC [3] in order to leverage other energy management and residential technologies. Partners can sell GridPoint products, and GridPoint will be able to offer their customers their partners’ products. Internally, these partnerships were introduced as channel partnerships and a way for GridPoint to expand its reach without growing the company significantly. But these partnerships are fundamentally misaligned with GridPoint’s core business model. Even though on one hand, the partnerships offer a 3rd party sales force that is trained to sell GridPoint products, the partnerships also force GridPoint employees to sell EnerNOC’s and ADT’s products in addition to the company’s own hardware, software and services. In some cases, these products are complementary, but that is definitely not always the case. In addition, GridPoint’s products are a significant investment for even their largest customers, so with a sales force of just five individuals and a long sales cycle (6 months to year, at a minimum), upselling additional products could be detrimental to GridPoint’s success in the long run.

Sources

[1] https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/layoffs-start-at-gridpoint

[2] https://www.gridpoint.com/gridpoint-announces-acquisition-by-tfc-utilities/

[3] https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/a-reborn-gridpoint-goes-deep-into-commercial-building-energy-efficiency

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1 thought on “GridPoint: Misalignment through Acquisition and Channel Partnerships

  1. Thank you Caroline for sharing about GridPoint.

    I completely agree that cross-selling with an external salesforce will not be creating value for the company. I guess that GridPoint’s price point for the service delivered could be >5x than the value of ADT and I can see the misalignment. Also, maintaining the relationship with the salesforce is dependent on how well the product acts, how much money is GridPoint saving Walgreens. I could see GridPoint leveraging its own salesforce with another set of products that are aligned with the training its salesforce goes into. Gridpoint is sacrificing quality for coverage, and this could eventually tilt in the wrong direction with customers leaving the company.

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