Recently I met with several employees to discuss the topic of entrepreneurship and I was asked when I realized that the DER market was right for Tangent? My reply was a little snarky. I said, “I did not figure out when the DER market was right for Tangent. But there was a point when the market recognized that companies like Tangent, Enbala and a few others were doing something truly different and started calling it DER.”
I explained that Tangent started after interviewing more than 30 C&I energy customers about changes that were occurring in demand response and new opportunities being created by a less centralized energy grid. Based on their feedback, we built a business model that empowered C&I customers to monitor, manage and, most importantly, monetize their energy assets in order to capitalize on energy grid economic opportunities. We had a great concept, strong business model, and a growing base of customers. We were in sync with our customers’ needs, but we were still ahead of the general market. As a result, we spent a lot of time explaining our business model. Specifically, that our value proposition was defined less by the products and services we sold, and more by the new customer-side energy resource and economic opportunities we were creating.
Tangent’s investors, EnerTech Capital and Laurel Capital Partners, were always very patient. We managed their investment capital wisely, grew revenue and stayed the course. With time, the DER market caught fire and now we are benefitting greatly from our strong head start. Today we have over 17k customers on our platform, manage more than 7500 MWs and have deployed more than $230 million in DER asset funding through PPAs.
Enbala, our sister company in the EnerTech portfolio, is another great example of staying the course. They too started with a great idea and innovative technology but needed the market to catch up to what they were about. Bud Vos, the CEO, has been patiently putting together all the building blocks and will benefit from the explosive market.
Getting back to my employee meeting, I made one final point before concluding. Strong venture-backed companies need great venture capitalists to succeed. I give EnerTech’s founder, Scott Ungerer, all the credit for being a believer and being patient with companies like Tangent and Enbala. It is not easy waiting for the market to “happen”, especially when others push to chase the next shiny object.
Keep an eye on Enbala and Tangent. Watch what may happen when the right team is in place and the market finally catches up.