Distributed Energy Management helps clients leverage their critical utility resources for competitive advantage. 30% of all energy consumed in the United States is wasted. It can be as high as $50 billion dollars economic value which is not used productively.
Location: Seattle, WA
Product / Service Offering: Strategic and Financial Services for Utility Budgeting and Operations
Co-founder Interviewed: Jimmy Jia, CEO
Other Key Management Team Members: Carey Gersten, Director of Marketing; Eve Gordon-Anderson, Director of Business Development; Jameson Morrell, Director of Client Engagement
This article is part of our Business Startup Spotlight series featuring entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope that these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey
Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you.
I am disturbed by the fact that 30% of all energy consumed in the United States is wasted. It can be as high as $50 billion dollars economic value which is not used productively. If we include water, trash, natural gas and other common utilities, the amount can be several hundred billion dollars.
When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?
Our goal is to help clients increase their competitive advantage through reducing consumption of resources. Companies are always trying to do more with less. Eliminating waste is the easiest way to improve productivity and the bottom line.
What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
We help our clients leverage their critical utility resources for competitive advantage. The utility line-item should include bills, capital, operational, maintenance, facility, external incentives, financing, etc. Yet these costs are managed across an organization, with little clarity, coordination, or decision-making authority. When we implement our budgetary controls, company executives can see how their spending priorities are affecting their utility costs and business outcomes. This automatically motivates them to invest in technologies that reduce costs while improving revenue.
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
Our approach has reduced costs by 11% across our portfolio and stabilized a 52% month-to-month variability of costs. We have a very diverse portfolio of grocery, retail, affordable housing, community colleges and other end uses.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
One of our biggest challenges was reputation and trust. Since we are working with CFO’s and COO’s, we started partnering with organizations who already work with those stakeholders. Now that we have worked with some clients for over three years, we have established our network and referral programs.
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Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
The Fledge Accelerator program was a great resource that formalized many of our informal processes. It helped Distributed Energy Management raise a round of money and continue with marketing and development.
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
We are funded by friends/family and angels. If we were to start over, I would have built the network and ecosystem much earlier. The ecosystem is helping propel us forward at this time.
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Have there been any questions you have had as an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup that you had a particularly hard time finding the answers to?
The Fledge network has been incredibly useful. Nearly all of my questions were answered by someone in that group.
What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
Sales, sales, sales! We are talking to as many clients as we can so we are head-down in execution phase.
What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?
Be confident when approaching high-level people. I’ve met many CEO’s and other executives through my work. It is very satisfying when our solution solves a critical problem of theirs.
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