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National Grid Partners Invests in AI Startups to Protect Critical Infrastructure

Nov. 2, 2020
Two new investments in data analytics startups that use AI to protect critical infrastructure, help reduce costs for customers.

National Grid Partners (NGP), the investment arm of National Grid plc, recently announced two new investments in data analytics startups that use artificial intelligence (AI) to protect critical infrastructure and ultimately help reduce costs for customers.

The NGP led both funding rounds with US$6 million in combined investment. Since its launch in November 2018, the utility industry's first Silicon Valley-based investment firm now has put US$175 million to work in emerging technology companies and specialty venture funds.

The NGP's newest portfolio additions are:

  • Boston-based Aperio Systems, which uses AI and machine learning (ML) to analyze and monitor industrial sensor data in real time. Aperio's data integrity platform enables customers in industries such as energy, mining, and manufacturing to make better-informed decisions, reduce downtime, and boost safety and security.
  • Silicon Valley's AiDash, which uses high-resolution satellite imagery coupled with AI to help utility and energy customers transform operations and maintenance activities like vegetation management, remote monitoring, and disaster management. Its technology helps protect distribution grids from overgrown plant life that can spark disruptions or fires.

"National Grid's ambition is to become the most intelligent transmission network in the world," said Lisa Lambert, the company’s chief technology and innovation officer and the founder and president of the NGP. "We are investing in and deploying technologies across our networks to enhance resilience and reliability, while more easily integrating clean energy."

NGP Director Andre Turenne will join both companies' boards of directors.

The NGP invests in early and expansion-stage companies from its US$300 million initial funding allocation. Its focus areas include the internet of things (IoT), grid modernization, security, cloud, AI, mobility, and analytics, among others. The NGP also convenes the NextGrid Alliance, a network of global utility companies that share innovation and investment best practices to solve common problems and benefit customers.

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