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Uplight Secures Capital from TIMIA and CIBC to Fuel Sustainable Growth
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Uplight Secures Capital from TIMIA and CIBC to Fuel Sustainable Growth

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Catherine Daly
Content Strategist

Uplight (former Agentis Energy) is a Chicago-based SaaS company with an important mission: to unlock data that will empower businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and ensure reliable, affordable energy for future generations.

Uplight recently partnered with TIMIA Capital and CIBC Bank USA to secure growth capital to fuel product innovation and expand its business across North America. 

TIMIA caught up with Uplight CEO Tim Stojka and Director of Marketing Brad Cain to learn about the company’s history and exciting plans for the future.

Uplight founders, Tim Stojka, John Lux, and Paul Sudol

About Uplight

Established around ten years ago by Tim and cofounders John Lux and Paul Sudol, Uplight currently works with North America’s leading utilities, including Exelon, Florida Power & Light, Southern Company, and other forward-thinking energy providers. Through advanced data science and technology, the Uplight platform transforms energy data into powerful analytics and tools for millions of businesses across the country.

“In the last 100 years, the grid hasn’t changed a lot. Energy companies produce energy, send it out, and bill for it. We saw an opportunity to help energy providers and their business customers make better decisions, understand their energy consumption, and become more efficient,” said Tim. “In essence, Uplight is contributing to the new energy landscape and helping utility companies to create the 21st-century grid. Helping to drive a low carbon and customer-centric industry.”

Approximately four million businesses across North America have access to the Uplight Customer Engagement Platform. Electric and natural gas meters at these accounts feed over 8 billion data points into the Uplight platform per year.

Uplight transforms this data into actionable intelligence, highlighting opportunities to improve efficiencies, manage demand, or improve performance via the adoption of new technologies like rooftop solar or battery storage. By connecting energy data to customer actions, Uplight enables utilities to redefine the customer experience, delivering highly personalized information and tools.

Uplight transforms energy data into actionable intelligence.

Building Functionality to Meet Demand

As the energy grid becomes more complex, businesses have more choices and demand more data-driven insights. 

“Energy companies are investing billions of dollars in sustainability initiatives and are seeking solutions like Uplight to help them drive real change. We are investing in our product to ensure we meet their needs today and in the future,” said Tim.

Uplight is innovating to enable businesses to calculate the return on investment in energy initiatives like EV charging stations, NAVs, solar rooftops, batteries, etc. It is incorporating leading-edge data science and proactive outbound messaging to help businesses make better decisions and manage their carbon footprint.

Sustainable Mission, Sustainable Growth

Uplight has always had a culture of challenging conventional thinking. In the beginning, advisors recommended against selling to utilities as they move too slowly and the sales cycle is too long.

“We saw the opportunity to reinvent the channel, so we took a risk, and it turned out to be the right decision.  With over four million businesses on our platform, we are achieving scale that matters,” said Tim.

Uplight has had a very capital efficient business model from day one. Building the business and growing the revenue double digit levels while maintaining profitability.

“So many entrepreneurs make the mistake of raising venture capital too early. Every startup thinks their product is a painkiller, but most are just vitamins. If you burn through a lot of venture capital without getting product-market fit as a painkiller, you will burn through money, destroy value, and won’t have a lot of choices at the end of the day.  We worked hard in the early years to go slow to understand customers and make sure we had product/ market fit was key,” said Tim.

Instead of focusing on venture rounds, Uplight focused on its customers and built a great product and an enduring company.

A Cultural Fit: TIMIA, CIBC, and Uplight

Finding the right growth capital partners was important to Uplight. They looked at a range of debt providers but knew almost immediately that TIMIA and CIBC were the right fit.

“The people at TIMIA and CIBC were friendly, flexible, and responsive, and ultimately it came down to the right cultural fit,” said Tim. “TIMIA and CIBC do what we try to do for our customers—understand their needs, and build a product or service around those needs,” said Tim.

Uplight intends to use the capital from TIMIA and CIBC for product innovation and engineering to become an industry leader.

“Investing in product and ensuring we exceed our customers’ expectations as the industry continues to grow is paramount,” said Tim. 

Uplight plans to grow the team by over 60 percent in the next 12 months to prepare for the massive opportunity to help energy providers create a low carbon and customer-centric business model.

“Uplight is an exciting company with great values on an important mission. We look forward to following their growth journey and are proud to support them along the way,” said Rob Foxall, VP, Origination at TIMIA Capital.

“Uplight’ focus on data-driven tools is important for the energy sector and the sustainability thereof,” said Kurt Nichols, Managing Director, CIBC US Innovation Banking. “We are pleased to provide financing to support their continued growth as we continue our commitment to support companies focused on innovation and sustainability.”

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What’s Next for Uplight

The team at Uplight is laser-focused on its important mission and is working hard to build a product to meet its customer’s growing needs.

“There are always stumbles along the way, but the important thing is learning from them and not repeating the same mistake twice,” said Brad.

In the future, they may look at working with some private equity firms, but for now, the focus is on executing its business plan.

“Over time, there’s a compounding effect to doing the little things really well,” said Tim. “We strive to do good work for all Uplight’ constituents—our employees, our customers, and our investors. We’ve always had that philosophy, and it has been a key part of our success.”

Uplight is an exciting company on an important mission. The future is bright!

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Catherine Daly
Content Strategist

Catherine joined TIMIA Capital as a freelance copywriter and social media manager in January 2019. She has 15 years experience in marketing and held senior positions at a number of technology companies including Hootsuite, Absolute, and Avnet Technology Solutions. Catherine is an expert writer and marketer and holds an executive Masters in Marketing, a Bachelor of Science in Communications and Journalism, and a Diploma in Digital Marketing.