Tech Industry

Energy efficiency firm Comverge jumps in IPO

Wall Street takes a shine to Comverge, a company that monitors and adjusts home and office thermostats.

Comverge, which hooks up home thermostats to the Internet to monitor and automatically adjust them based on electricity prices and consumption, has seen its stock climb 22.5 percent following its initial public offering. The New Jersey-based company released 5.3 million shares in its IPO last Friday at $18 a share. The stock is now trading at about $22. Revenue at Comverge has nearly doubled in the last two years, rising from $17.9 million in 2004 to $33.9 million in 2006. The company has its equipment installed at 4.5 million locations and has long-term contracts with seven utilities it says could result in cumulative revenue of $201.4 million between 2007 and 2016.

A Comverge competitor, EnerNoc, has also filed for an IPO, but has not yet set a date. Still, like most other green tech start-ups, companies like Comverge and EnerNoc live in constant peril of multinationals or changes in energy regulations that could hurt their markets. In the past few years, for instance, start-ups have emerged touting biodiesel. Unfortunately for these start-ups, agribusiness giants like Archer Daniels Midland have become interested in producing fuel too. Companies such as Honeywell and General Electric have made sensors that regulate thermostats, but generally, the systems that regulate temperature aren't reacting to problems or changes on the grid.