3M New Ventures – the corporate venture arm of 3M – announced an equity stake in Toronto-based Smart Energy Instruments (SEI), a move that will further accelerate SEI’s efforts in developing electronic chipsets with high-precision, real-time monitoring capabilities for smart grids, as well as give 3M a bigger presence in the energy sector. The investment from 3M New Ventures comes as several existing stakeholders also bolstered their equity in SEI, including Venturelink Funds, ArcTern Ventures and the Ontario Capital Growth Corp. Together, the financing round, led by 3M New Ventures, totaled $5 million (or $5.6 million Canadian dollars).
The 3M press release said aging grid infrastructures and the surge in renewable energy sources – particularly solar and wind – are driving the need for more precise monitoring devices. 3M’s Electronics and Energy Business Group is building new platforms for greater relevance to the energy sector, and SEI’s chips will be a key part of 3M’s portfolio for grid automation. Details