The venture capital arm of French energy company Total has taken an investment in AutoGrid, with its Total Energy Ventures joining the company's C-2 funding round as a strategic investor.
The move comes on the tail of Total's $1.1 billion acquisition of battery-maker Saft last month, and follows a recent trend of fossil fuel giants taking greater interest in clean technologies, particularly distributed energy.
In addition to Total, other AutoGrid investors include Energy Impact Partners, Envision Energy and German energy giant E.On.
Amid a period of low commodity prices and new international commitments to climate change action, companies long associated with fossil fuels are looking to diversify their portfolios.
Among the most aggressive has been French oil supermajor Total. Following the 2011 purchase of a controlling stake in solar manufacturer SunPower, the company bought battery startup Saft last month, adding to positions in storage companies Sunverge and Aquion, as well as the utility analytics company Tendril.
AutoGrid in May raised $20 million in venture capital financing to fund the expansion of the “Energy Internet” suite of applications built on the California company’s software.
The company also said the funding would help it expand its sales and marketing efforts in North America, Europe and Asia.
AutoGrid’s internet platform allows users to balance supply and demand for connected distributed energy resources by identifying problems and optimizing equipment consumption. The applications use predictive technology to process data from energy assets and grid activity.
“Following on from the acquisition of stakes in Sunverge and Stem, this latest investment strengthens TEV’s portfolio in the area of smart grids,” Philippe Sauquet, president of gas, renewables and power at Total, said in a statement.
TEV will sit on AutoGrid’s board of directors as an observer.