Created by Northwestern University students who share a common interest in the energy sector, the group, who met in NUvention, a Northwestern class that teaches start-up methodology in the energy vertical, has been working on the company since last spring and have many successes to show for it. In February, they won $10,000 at the Illinois Clean Energy Challenge and in April won the $25,000 McCaffrey Interest Prize at the Midwest Regional Clean Energy Challenge.
I sat down with Hillary Hass, one of the founders of MeterGenius, who discussed where the idea for the start-up came from and what the road to success has been like.
AB: How did you and your co-founders decide to create a start-up that was energy related?
HH: We decided to focus on energy management and energy efficiency because our original idea was for sort of a smart power strip that would eliminate vampire energy. It was a bad idea, but in the process we spoke with a lot of electricity providers and they kept saying how in electricity markets, they faced really high customer turnover, and that there’s really not a tool for them to engage customers and retain them. We also learned that they also have all these smart meters, which are digital electricity meters, but customers don’t actually get to see the benefits of them, which include being able to view your electricity usage in real time. We saw this to be a really big opportunity and came up with out platform.
AB: What has been your proudest moment so far for the company?
HH: My personal proudest moment was when we secured out six-month pilot program with a provider in Texas last May called Infinite Energy. That really allowed us to continue working on MeterGenius and prove to ourselves that we had something real and tangible people wanted to use and were excited about. Infinite Energy actually agreed to the pilot with us before we had an actual product, which was part of what made it even prouder because it showed that out concept was really something awesome.
AB: Have you gotten any feedback from the pilot users?
HH: We’re piloting with 3000 users in Texas who get to use the meter genius tool and engage with it. We launched a feedback campaign a few weeks ago and have gotten very overwhelmingly positive feedback from the users who said that they really enjoyed the tool and have gotten great insight from it.
AB: What has been the most challenging part of getting MeterGenius off the ground and noticed?
HH: I think that the most challenging part is building out a network and building out contacts throughout the country and throughout the different areas we want to operate within because building out contacts leads to more sales and more recognition.
AB: Are there regions where you’ve achieved more success than others?
HH: We’ve had a lot of success in Illinois because we live here and get to go to a lot of networking events and business plan competitions. They have been really beneficial, and I think we’ve made more contacts here than in the rest of the country. That isn’t to say that we don’t have them in other parts [of the country]-we’ve just been able to find more here.
To learn more, go to https://metergenius.com/.