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Opower's IPO Could Be A Good Sign For Future Green Tech Startups

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Chief executive officer of Opower, Daniel Yates
(Photo : Reuters) Chief executive officer of Opower, Daniel Yates, smiles after the company's IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York April 4, 2014.

Opower, a company that uses behavioral science and software to push users to consume less energy, had an IPO Friday and it went very well relative to those of other green tech startups.

The company raised $116 million and shares rose about 4 percent to $23.37 on the New York Stock Exchange, according to Ucilia Wang at Forbes

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"The big focus for the company in the coming year is international expansion and a continual investment in our core products," said Dan Yates, CEO, in an interview with Forbes. "We are just at the very beginning of an exciting time when utilities are saying, 'This clean tech thing isn't going away, so how can we work together to make money.'" 

In the past, other companies have failed to attract the number of users and impact them the way Opower has. "Google, Microsoft and Cisco all tried and abandoned their efforts a few years back because they couldn't get enough consumers to care. Also, many of those display devices were just too expensive, costing several hundred dollars at retail stores," according to Wang.

By the end of 2013, Opower had 93 utility companies in eight countries subscribing to its services, including 27 in the U.S.

Its software uses each household's electricity consumption data and "shows how each home's energy use stacks against its neighbors in the most recent billing period and over time. Its utility customers send that information, along with energy-saving tips, to its customers by regular mail or through an online portal."

The services have proved to save each household 2.5 percent on their utilities other services such as its demand-response programs, in which homeowners agree to reduce their energy use during hours of peak demand in exchange for credits on their bills, have potential for growth.

Yates told Forbes the public is growing more comfortable with investing in companies like Opower, in part because of the wild success some have had such as Tesla Motors and the many acquisitions of other by companies like Google.

"We are through this disillusionment after the enormous high curves in 2006 and 2007," Yates told Forbes. "We are entering an era of many mainstream green tech companies." 

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