SAN RAFAEL -- Citing a "huge opportunity" in battery backup and power management, the CEO of San Rafael's IntelliBatt has unveiled a new name and plans for expansion.
Canara, evoking the canary in the coal mine, "better reflects our new analytical services as well as our stellar track record in preventing downtime for our customers," said CEO Tom Barton.
Since coming on last summer, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur lost no time starting the path to aggressive growth. He arranged for $22 million in venture capital, the family-owned company's first outside investment, and hired sales teams for Europe and, soon, Asia.
In the last 12 months the company's workforce has doubled, to 50 employees.
"We intend to grow both organically and through acquisitions. We'll probably seek further investment capital as well," said Mr. Barton, who as CEO of Rackable Systems (now Silicon Graphics International) oversaw that company's revenue growth from $20 million to over $360 million and its successful IPO.
Canara got its start offering battery monitoring systems to large data centers and then expanded its offerings to a suite of battery management tools, including uninterrupted power supply (UPS) and predictive analytics. Recently the company added a second generation of cloud-based dashboard and reporting and is about to launch a branch circuit monitoring system that its customers have been clamoring for.
[caption id="attachment_74185" align="alignright" width="264"] Canara battery cabinet[/caption]
Among those customers are Equinix, Digital Realty Trust, AAA, FedEx, Sony, Barclay's, Comcast and Wal-Mart, to name a few.
"Not one of them has ever suffered downtime from a failed battery system," said Mr. Barton.
Canara has built its reputation on its independence and willingness to work with customers, he said. The company had revenues of $20 million last year, a number its executive team has targeted to grow by 20-30 percent a year, "but I think we'll exceed that," said Mr. Barton.
He sees major opportunities among telecom companies, providers of electric vehicle charging stations and utilities. PG&E is already a customer.
According to Sam Jaffe, senior research analyst for Navigant Research in Boulder, Canara is well positioned to move beyond its current offerings.
"Their customers comprise the largest network of battery storage in the world. There are many opportunities, including demand/response, for example, where a utility will pay customers to use less electricity during a peak in demand. Data center demand/response is an entirely untapped market."
The UPS space is also large and growing, he said. Uninterrupted power supply batteries and storage cost about $3.1 billion globally in 2012. The market is expected to reach $5.9 billion in 10 years, or "six and a half percent growth, the sign of a mature industry," said Mr. Jaffe.
Canara is also positioned to participate in the development of the smart grid, with its reliance on distributed power sources and energy storage.
"What we offer basically is uptime," said Mr. Barton. "Uptime, and extended use of batteries. Those are value propositions that nobody will refuse."