Silver Spring Raises $100 Million

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Privately held smart grid networking company Silver Spring Networks said on Tuesday it had raised $100 million in its latest round of financing and was in no hurry to test the public markets.

The Redwood City, California-based start-up, which has attracted investments from technology heavyweights such as Google Inc, is widely seen as ripe for an initial public offering and some analysts expect the IPO next year.

“We are in no hurry,” Warren Jenson, chief financial officer of Silver Spring, said in an interview when asked if the company plans to file an IPO.

Jenson declined to comment further on a possible IPO and said the latest round of financing was oversubscribed.

“We were very fortunate,” he said. “We had incredibly strong demand. We were able to complete it in 30 days.”

Silver Spring plans to use the money it has raised for expansion of its global footprint and development of new products in upcoming sectors such as plug-in hybrids or electric vehicles.

“Electric vehicles are going to be something that we believe over time will have a significant impact,” Jenson said, adding that the company is working on ways to supply networking technology to utilities to integrate charging stations into the smart grid so that electric cars can be charged during off-peak periods.

With the latest round, Silver Spring has raised a total of about $250 million.

Jenson declined to give any details on the company’s finances, but said the company was “very comfortable” with its financial position.

Silver Spring has contracts with power utilities that serve 25 percent of the U.S. population, including Pacific Gas & Electric Co and Florida Power Corp.

The investment round was led by institutional investors and included existing investors Google Ventures, Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Northgate Capital.

Utility companies around the world are laying the groundwork to upgrade their networks with smart grid technology, which measures and modifies power usage in homes and businesses, improving grid reliability.

Experts envision the smart grid as a network that will wring new efficiencies out of thousands of miles of power lines and open the door to more development of renewable electricity sources.

Separately, home solar power provider SunRun said it has received a commitment of tax equity from U.S. Bancorp subsidiary to finance an additional $90 million in residential solar installations in 2010.

Tax equity financing refers to investments under which banks fund solar power projects in exchange for renewable energy tax credits.

This new funding is in addition to the first round of project financing provided by U.S. Bancorp in November 2008.

The funding follows a round of funding for $18 million led by Accel Partners in July 2009.

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta; editing by Andre Grenon)