Google X Geothermal Energy Spinoff Dandelion Raises $4.5M

Google X geothermal energy spinoff Dandelion raised $4.5 million as part of a new funding round led by New Enterprise Associates, the company announced Tuesday. Daniel Yates, BoxGroup, and Ground Up also participated in the investment, as did Dandelion's previous backers ZhenFund, Borealis Ventures, and Collaborative Fund. Following the move, the company's total funding reached $6.5 million, with the new investment being attributed to increasing the scale of its operations and improving its products over the course of this year, according to Dandelion co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Kathy Hannun. The firm's general mission remains unchanged, with its ultimate goal being servicing homeowners across the continent with affordable, clean, and — ultimately — cost-saving geothermal energy meant to power both heating and cooling solutions.

Mr. Yates, founder and former CEO of energy efficiency software services Opower is also joining Dandelion's directors in the role of an Executive Board Member following his investment, the company confirmed. The industry veteran's former business entered the public market in 2014 as part of a $1 billion IPO and ended up being acquired by Oracle two years later. His involvement in Dandelion is being interpreted as a continuation of his efforts to stay in the industry and leverage his skills and experience, as suggested by the fact he's joining Dandelion in an executive board role and not a strictly supervisory one, indicating he's planning to be directly involved in the management of the company going forward.

New Enterprise Associates Principal Andrew Schoen called Dandelion's business model "meaningful" in all relevant aspects, having noted how the venture capital firm is optimistic about the fact that the startup's offerings provide value to both consumers and the environment. While geothermal heating and cooling systems aren't a novelty by themselves, Dandelion's solution is said to be largely unprecedented in terms of its implementation costs, with the firm claiming it's capable of cutting the thereof in half, thus making them more accessible to homeowners seeking long-term investments. Following its beginnings on Google's campus several years back, Dandelion went independent in the spring of 2017 and is presently operating out of New York City. It's currently unclear whether the latest funding round could lead to more M&A activity, with Dandelion already completing its first purchase in the form of startup Geo-Connections earlier this month and possibly looking to follow up on that move in the near future.

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