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News

Hilco Streambank Announces Successful Acquisition of Venture Capital Backed Varentec, Inc. Assets by Koch Engineered Solutions Subsidiary Sentient Energy

Mar 09, 2021

Hilco Streambank (www.hilcostreambank.com) had the privilege of collaborating with Varentec, Inc. (www.varentec.com), a revolutionary edge-of-network, volt/VAR grid optimization technology company, and secured lender Windsail Capital Group (www.windsailcapital.com) to complete a successful asset acquisition after an unsuccessful investment bank process run earlier in the year.

Hilco Streambank, the world’s foremost advisor in the valuation, monetization, and disposition of intellectual property, announced today that it successfully facilitated the private sale of substantially all of the assets of Varentec to Sentient Energy, a subsidiary of Koch Engineered Solutions (KES). The acquisition included all of Varentec’s intellectual property, inventory, and customer contracts. Hilco Streambank was also pleased to be a part of negotiations to retain a majority of Varentec’s employees. The terms of the sale have not been disclosed.

Varentec, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, developed patented hardware and software solutions to address voltage irregularities at the edge of the grid. A pioneer in the field, Varentec disrupted a slow-to-adopt industry by engineering an elegant and proven solution that has become a foundational component for efficiency savings at some of the largest investor-owned utilities in the United States.

Sentient Energy, acquired by KES in March of 2020, has engineered and deployed innovative sensor and grid analytics software solutions. The transformative technology empowers utilities to improve grid safety and reliability, lower grid management costs, extend the useful life of existing infrastructure, and prepare for the increasing growth of distributed energy resources.

The acquisition of Sentient Energy marked an important first step for KES’s vision of building the leading intelligent grid platform in the United States. The addition of the Varentec technology brings a combination hardware-software voltage regulation solution that is fully complimentary to the Sentient sensor and analytics suite. Together, they represent an impressive step forward for the entire energy industry’s quest to modernize and adapt to new technologies, including distributed energy resources and renewables, which have produced significant strain on the grid.

Don Brown, Vice President of Business Development at KES, remarked, “we have been highly impressed with the Varentec technology for some time, and we at KES are certain that it will play an integral role in expanding our capabilities.” Sentient Energy CEO Bob Karschnia echoed Brown’s sentiments, adding, “as excited as we are to now have this technology, we are equally thrilled to have brought over a world-class team that will ensure we continue to offer superior services to our utility customers.”

Hilco Streambank was selected by Varentec and secured lender WindSail Capital to commence the sale process in November of 2020 and the sale was completed on February 10, 2021. “We sincerely appreciate the concerted effort put forth by the Varentec management and the team at Hilco Streambank to transition the Varentec platform to Sentient Energy,” said Mike Rand, Managing Director of WindSail. “Sentient’s investment validates our own investment thesis and ensures that Varentec’s voltage regulation and grid-edge management system will continue to provide significant energy savings to utilities around the world for years to come. We view this as a superior outcome all around—full recovery and a strong home for the technology and employees.”

Gabe Fried, CEO of Hilco Streambank, commented that, “this was a compelling process, and our team is appreciative of the opportunity and very pleased with the outcome, especially knowing the importance of this technology in paving a greener and more efficient future for the energy sector.” Speaking on the process, Fried stated, “the Varentec process is a prime example of Hilco Streambank’s versatility and resourcefulness in identifying appropriate parties to bring to the table—no matter the asset type or industry—to get a deal done.”

 

About Hilco Streambank: Hilco Streambank (www.hilcostreambank.com) provides intellectual property services and expertise at the intersection of intangible assets and corporate finance–identifying, preserving, and extracting value for clients through the application of experience, diligence, and creativity. Hilco Streambank is a division of Hilco Global (www.hilcoglobal.com).

About Varentec: Varentec (www.varentec.com) was born in 2012 to bring intelligence and control to the grid-edge of the power delivery infrastructure. The company was inspired by cutting-edge research at the Georgia Institute of Technology; funded by Bill Gates, 3M, and Khosla Ventures; and was awarded support from the Department of Energy’s prestigious Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E). Varentec unlocks new energy savings through reduced end-use consumption, better integration of clean distributed energy resources, and smart control at the edge of the grid.

About Sentient Energy: Sentient (www.sentient-energy.com) provides the industry’s only Grid Analytics System that covers the entire distribution network with quickly deployed intelligent sensors and analytics that detect and analyze potential faults and grid events.

About Koch Engineered Solutions: KES (www.kochind.com) provides uniquely engineered solutions in mass and heat transfer, combustion and emissions controls, filtration, separation, materials applications, automation and actuation. KES is located in Wichita, Kansas and is a subsidiary of Koch Industries, one of the largest private companies in the world.

About Windsail Capital Management: WindSail (www.windsailcapital.com) provides growth financing to companies advancing energy innovation and sustainability across a wide range of industries. WindSail’s investments typically range from $2 million to $10 million and are in the form of a secured loan. WindSail prides itself on thinking outside the box and structuring transactions that specifically address a company’s capital needs.

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