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TECH NEWS: Hara unveils software to help with energy management

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- At a time when businesses and local governments are trying to reduce their carbon footprints, there are plenty of companies they can hire to measure their greenhouse gas emissions.

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- At a time when businesses and local governments are trying to reduce their carbon footprints, there are plenty of companies they can hire to measure their greenhouse gas emissions.

Few, however, offer information about carbon, energy, water, waste and other resources, then advise organizations on how to reduce the use of each one and track the results.

So says Hara, a Menlo Park, Calif., environmental and energy management software company that exits stealth mode today with $6 million in venture financing from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Founded 18 months ago by Amit Chatterjee and Kleiner Perkins partner Ajit Nazre, the young company is unveiling the second version of its software service that can monitor and manage natural resource consumption and environmental impact.

"Rather than just looking at the output and saying, 'Oh my gosh, we've got to turn off this or turn off that to save money and reduce emissions,'" said Chatterjee, "we're asking, 'What are the incremental changes we can do here, with the input, that lead to better results here, with the output?' That becomes a manageable business process."


At least a dozen clients have signed up for the subscription-based service, including Coca-Cola and the city of Palo Alto, Calif.

Essentially, Hara (which means "fresh green" in Sanskrit) follows a four-part plan that makes up what Chatterjee calls an "organizational metabolism index."

Hara collects environmental information to provide a comprehensive view of resource consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impact. Next, it defines strategies, forecasts reductions, identifies objectives, and calculates timing and benefits for each initiative. Then, it manages the execution of environmental and energy programs, tracks results for each initiative, and creates an audit trail for regulatory requirements. Finally, the service leverages best practices for continuous improvements.

"I'm not easily impressed," said Bryan Jacob, director of energy management and climate protection for Coca-Cola. But after a presentation by Hara, he told his boss, "I think we need to put this package into a test."

For the past few months, Coca-Cola has been testing the software at about a dozen of the company's 1,000 manufacturing facilities.

"Hara goes beyond what so many other tools do," Jacob said. "It helps calculate the inventory, establish the strategic targets, and has initiative-tracking features."

Chatterjee said the 25-person company prices its software depending on the size and goals of the organization.

"We're not finding a lot of resistance to the pricing," said Kleiner Perkins partner Nazre. "What is resonating with the customers the most is: how quickly will it pay for itself?"


In the case of Palo Alto, he said, the software has uncovered close to $2 million in savings for the city.

Related Topics: ENVIRONMENT
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