About Tank Utility
Tank Utility offers a remote propane monitoring system providing tank level data through wireless sensors and smartphone app for fuel deliveries. It was founded in 2014 and is based in Boston, Massachusetts. In September 20th, 2021, Tank Utility was acquired by Generac Holdings. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Expert Collections containing Tank Utility
Expert Collections are analyst-curated lists that highlight the companies you need to know in the most important technology spaces.
Tank Utility is included in 2 Expert Collections, including Smart Home & Consumer Electronics.
Smart Home & Consumer Electronics
This Collection includes companies developing smart home devices, wearables, home electronics, and other consumer electronics.
Smart building tech covers energy management/HVAC tech, occupancy/security tech, connectivity/IoT tech, construction materials, robotics use in buildings, and the metaverse/virtual buildings.
Tank Utility Patents
Tank Utility has filed 4 patents.
Sensors, Technical indicators, Point-class cutters, Rotating disc computer storage media, Transducers
Sensors, Technical indicators, Point-class cutters, Rotating disc computer storage media, Transducers
Latest Tank Utility News
Oct 9, 2023
By Share A Generac employee assembles a home standby generator at the company’s Whitewater facility. In the past year and a half, Town of Genesee-based Generac has been sued at least 10 times by both suppliers and consumers, agreed to pay a $15.8 million civil penalty related to product safety and became the target of at least four securities lawsuits. The wave of legal disputes has emerged as the manufacturer Want to Read the Entire Article? Become a BizTimes Insider today and get immediate access to our subscriber-only content and much more. Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin Ashley covers startups, technology and manufacturing for BizTimes. She was previously the managing editor of the News Graphic and Washington County Daily News. In past reporting roles, covering education at The Waukesha Freeman, she received several WNA awards. She is a UWM graduate. In her free time, Ashley enjoys watching independent films, tackling a new recipe in the kitchen and reading a good book. ABOUT US FOLLOW US Copyright ©2023 BizTimes Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. In the past year and a half, Town of Genesee-based Generac has been sued at least 10 times by both suppliers and consumers, agreed to pay a $15.8 million civil penalty related to product safety and became the target of at least four securities lawsuits. The wave of legal disputes has emerged as the manufacturer of backup power generators works to break into the clean energy market, while also dealing with a backlog spurred by a rapid increase in demand for its flagship product – demand that drove Generac to achieve record revenue in 2022. The company increased production to meet the demand, but installers couldn’t keep pace, which led to the backlog. Despite the growing pains, Generac’s chief executive officer has both feet planted firmly in the future as he looks to grow the company into a leader within the clean energy and energy storage industries. Since joining Generac nearly three decades ago, Aaron Jagdfeld has been no stranger to the typical up-and-down cycles associated with selling home standby generators, the company’s flagship product. When a hurricane, ice storm or other natural disaster hits, localized interest and demand for home standby generators increases. [caption id="attachment_577853" align="alignnone" width="1280"] Aaron Jagdfeld[/caption] A series of severe weather events across the U.S. – along with increased consumer interest in home products during the COVID-19 pandemic – catalyzed Generac’s most recent boom in business as demand for its home standby generators exploded. The company’s total revenue climbed from $2.2 billion in 2019 to $4.56 billion in 2022, and along the way, lead times for a new generator – previously almost nonexistent – grew to 32 weeks. “This (demand) cycle was particularly robust for Generac,” said Michael Halloran, who covers Generac as a senior research analyst at Milwaukee-based Baird. “You had severe outages, followed by the Texas freeze, work from home, COVID-19 … all these things created a massive flux of demand for them.” However, an unexpected combination of troubles within Generac’s budding clean energy business and a now-dwindling backlog of orders for home standby generators have cast a “darker than normal shadow” on Generac’s new direction, said Jagdfeld. “We actually experienced some pretty good results early on (in the clean energy business),” he said. “It was all good until it wasn’t, and we ran into some headwinds with product quality and the way the market moves. When we look back, we don’t think we made a mistake with the strategy, we just made mistakes on execution.” Even with mounting legal challenges, Jagdfeld is steadfast in his belief that for Generac to maintain relevance and success in the future, the company must continue pursuing newer, cleaner energy management technologies, such as solar power and batteries. The shift into clean energy Generac’s shift into clean energy began five years ago when the company’s leadership team sought to answer a pressing question: “What if we wake up one day and internal combustion engines are no longer a viable product category?” “The internal combustion engine itself – this wonderful piece of machinery that’s been around for 100-plus years – I think you’re hard pressed to argue for a future for another 100 years with that technology,” Jagdfeld said. “Other technologies are becoming more cost effective, more efficient. Climate change is driving a need for new technologies that have a lower carbon footprint.” The pursuit of new technologies led Generac on a successive journey of acquisitions. The company purchased Canadian company Neurio Technology Inc. in March of 2019 and Maine-based Pika Energy in April of 2019, accelerating its entry into the energy storage market. In late 2019, the company began selling complete energy storage systems that capture and store electricity from solar panels or the electric grid. Its PWRcell Energy Storage System, for instance, uses a mix of solar generation and smart battery storage to power a home. Generac also purchased Canadian smart thermostat maker ecobee in a 2021 deal valued at $770 million. [caption id="attachment_577854" align="alignnone" width="1280"] Generac’s Guardian 26kW generator. [/caption] Then, in August 2022, Generac was struck with what would be the first of several legal issues in its clean energy business. North Carolina-based Power Home Solar, which had been doing business as Pink Energy, filed a lawsuit against Generac, alleging the SnapRS component in one of Generac’s solar energy systems was defective. The original SnapRS component was developed by Pika Energy and passed on to Generac as part of the 2019 acquisition. Pink Energy, which provided customers with solar panels, claimed it had lost approximately $155 million in revenue, and the company filed for bankruptcy in October 2022. Due to the bankruptcy filing, Pink Energy’s lawsuit against Generac was halted. In a statement, Generac said it has and always will stand by its products and that Pink Energy exacerbated the issue by deciding to stop offering Generac warranty support. Pink Energy is still working through the bankruptcy process. “We bought startup technology and startup teams, and we tried to scale them up,” said Jagdfeld. “We didn’t know what we didn’t know. It’s no excuse but we learned a lot and we’re going to get it right going forward.” Generac is currently undergoing a complete revamp of its solar charging and energy storage solutions, with new products set to be unveiled late next year, said Norman Taffe, Generac’s president of energy technology, during an investor presentation in late September. The company gave no further details on those forthcoming products. [caption id="attachment_577856" align="alignnone" width="1280"] Rendering of Generac’s planned Beaver Dam facility. [/caption] Ongoing legal challenges The Pink Energy suit was the beginning of a series of legal challenges for Generac. Some were related to the SnapRS component, while others, including two breach of contract lawsuits by contract manufacturers, were tied more directly to Generac’s latest big boom in business and subsequent decline in demand. In those two cases, the suppliers alleged Generac asked them to pre-order millions of dollars in supplies when business was booming, but later refused to buy custom-made parts as promised. A series of securities lawsuits were also filed as some investors alleged Generac made “numerous materially false and misleading statements and omissions” related to the safety and success of the company’s clean power products. This included the allegations surrounding the SnapRS component. In late 2022, Generac re-issued an earlier recall for several models of portable generators that were deemed hazardous to users. Between the two recalls, the company had received a total of 37 reports of injuries, including 31 finger amputations, by the machine’s unlocked handle. Generac in May agreed to pay a $15.8 million penalty as part of a settlement with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In its latest 10-Q filing, Generac lists a total 13 ongoing legal cases, including eight class action lawsuits filed by consumers between November 2022 and July 2023. Meanwhile, Generac’s stock has fallen from its five-year high of $498 per share in October 2021 to $114 in September 2023. “A lot of solar companies have had struggles,” said Jagdfeld. “These are difficult products to perfect and the technology is changing. They sit up on a rooftop for 20-plus years and are subject to extreme weather. It’s really a tough environment to put a piece of electronic equipment in. We think we’ve figured it out, and people will come back around to try us.” Coming back from its string of legal hurdles, Generac “needs to focus on developing new products and fixing any issues that lingered,” said Baird’s Halloran. And in his view, the company has so far been successful in retooling their approach to learning about and integrating new technologies into their business model. As far as Generac’s overall profitability, said Halloran, the legal challenges don’t pose a huge threat. “I’m not saying it doesn’t matter. It matters for the clean energy buildout, not so much for the other pieces,” he said. “The clean energy business is losing money. That’s not a surprise. If you look at a lot of these technology plays across industries and verticals, you often have some loss to build scale and build profitability. That’s the mode that Generac is in today.” Growth in commercial and industrial business If there is a silver lining, Jagdfeld said, it would be in the timing of these clean energy issues. The clean energy category is still developing and currently makes up less than 5% of Generac’s business. So, there aren’t too many consumers buying products in this space yet. In the future, Jagdfeld would like to see that figure grow to about a third of the company’s business. Generac’s core business segments include its commercial and industrial and its residential categories. Success on the C&I side of the business has helped offset Generac’s loss on the clean energy side, which falls into the residential category. Global shipments for Generac’s C&I products hit a record in the second quarter of 2023, bringing in $384 million in sales. That’s a 24% increase since the second quarter of 2022. “By being a more global company, it gives us exposure to different cycles,” said Jagdfeld. “That’s how we look to diversify a bit. We see a lot of opportunities in that C&I business.” Generac’s C&I segment has experienced so much growth that in September, the company unveiled plans for a new 320,000-square-foot industrial generator plant in Beaver Dam. The facility will eventually employ between 350 to 400 people. Construction could start by the end of the year, pending city approvals. “The demand for our industrial generators continues on a rapid growth trajectory, and this new facility will help us to best meet the needs of our customers,” Jagdfeld said in a statement. However, the core of Generac’s business, home standby generators, has seen declining sales over the past three quarters. Softer consumer demand and the lingering backlog in orders for the product are in part to blame, according to the company’s latest earnings report. Residential product sales declined 44% in the second quarter of this year compared to 2022. Jagdfeld explained Generac had to pull back on production of its home standby generators to address the backlog so installation could catch up with production and the company spent the past year working down its level of field inventory. “We’re doing that by underserving the market today,” he said. “That inventory level is normalizing and as it does so, we’ll start shipping at the market demand. Once we get to a point of stasis, we’ll naturally be shipping at a higher level.” Jagdfeld cites long-term consumer megatrends as another reason to remain optimistic about the residential business’s recovery curve. Generac looks favorably at the future need for residential products due to an increasing number of severe weather events and heightened consumer awareness of how unreliable the country’s electrical infrastructure is. The number of severe weather events has continued to grow at such a rapid pace that Generac expects “more volatile and severe weather driving increased power outage activity, and more global regulation accelerating renewable investments,” according to a company statement on the impact of climate change. Plus, with the post-pandemic shift to remote and hybrid work – accelerating what Generac calls the “home as a sanctuary” trend – as well as the aging-in-place phenomena, power outages have become increasingly inconvenient, which in turn continues to drive long-term demand for Generac’s residential backup power products, said Jagdfeld. He predicts home standby growth will start returning to normal levels by the end of the year, although some analysts, including Halloran, believe that prediction could be optimistic, and six to 10 quarters is the most likely timeline for a recovery curve to play out. “If you look at all the megatrends they talk about, those are all going to be drivers of growth for Generac over time, unless there’s new technology that completely cannibalizes the home standby piece,” said Halloran. [caption id="attachment_577855" align="alignnone" width="1280"] Generac’s PWRCell energy storage system, shown here mounted to a garage wall. [/caption] Favorable backdrop for investment Generac has received its fair share of questions from investors and analysts on why it’s not simply sticking to what it’s best at: making home standby generators. Jagdfeld said the current political backdrop in the U.S., coupled with the success of Generac’s C&I and residential segments over the past several years, means now is the right time to innovate. If the company doesn’t invest in emerging technologies now, its future could be at risk. “I don’t want to get to a point where the market has dropped off and we don’t have the luxury of being able to use the resources we have now to invest in the future,” he said. He pointed to Wauwatosa-based Briggs & Stratton as a cautionary tale and references the company’s 2020 bankruptcy as an example of the need for continued innovation. “Their market probably went away so quickly, and they found themselves unable to invest in the future because they didn’t have their core business in a healthy place,” he said. Generac has exponentially increased its spending on research and development over the past two years. In 2022, the company spent $159.8 million on R&D, a 53% increase from the $104.3 million spent in 2021. Just five years ago, Generac was not even spending half that amount. This year, Generac will again invest more than $100 million in R&D. As politicians place more of an emphasis on green initiatives, the overall climate for businesses like Generac – those who are looking to break into the clean energy space – is increasingly favorable. Jagdfeld cited the Inflation Reduction Act as legislation that provides an economically favorable backdrop for businesses acquiring clean energy products and the manufacturers making them. “I’m at a point in my career where for the next 10 years, nothing would be easier than to sit there and say, ‘We’re just going to be awesome at generators,’ and then retire so the next person coming in will have to deal with the burden of figuring out how to get to the new technologies,” he said. “This is hard. This is really hard. And it’s painful in some cases. There are some things we’ve had to deal with, lawsuits that have come up. But it’s part of the evolution.” Halloran thinks Generac’s core skill set of managing power, coupled with its experience in building a distribution channel and its profitability, means the manufacturer has an “entitlement to play” in the clean energy space. He also believes the marketplace, which has been dominated by big names like Tesla and Enphase Energy, is due for another clean energy competitor – and Generac fits the bill. Rebuilding trust Key to how Generac moves forward now will be its continued communication on the issues that have stemmed from its clean energy struggles. “The degree to which these issues are resolved by (product) repairs is really only part of the issue,” said David Wangrow, associate professor of strategic management at Marquette University. “There’s still a lot more out there that a company in this situation would need to address.” Wangrow spent 27 years working at Motorola prior to his time at Marquette. His primary area of research is in corporate governance. To be successful, he believes Generac – or any company battling negative consumer perception – must be transparent with both distributors and customers while showing benevolence, not necessarily impartiality. A common mistake companies can make is relying solely on a public relations team to handle messaging. Ideally, an executive from within a company’s C-suite would handle making any public statements in an earnest manner. “You can’t just rely on saying ‘here’s what the regulation is, and we should go do that,’” said Wangrow. “There’s certainly no need to panic, but they’ve got to be genuine and transparent.” Jagdfeld doesn’t deny there is some confidence rebuilding that needs to be done after the past year and a half. To do that, Generac must complete its full cycle of learning to make sure it truly understands the technology it wants to sell. He said that cycle of learning manifests itself as the hundreds of millions of dollars Generac is now spending on research and development. “If I were writing a case study on this, that would not be the way I tell people to do it,” he said. “Walk before you run. We ran, then fell down, and now we’re walking. It’s a humbling experience for our teams but I think it helped accelerate the learning.” Timeline of Generac acquisitions (2018-2022) 2018 June: Acquisition of Mexico City-based Selmec Equipos Industriales for $79 million. Selmec designs and manufactures industrial generators. 2019 February: Acquisition of Kolkata, India-based Captiva Energy Solutions Private Limited for an undisclosed price. Captiva makes customized industrial generators. March: Acquisition of Vancouver-based Neurio Technology Inc. for $59 million. Neurio is an energy data company focused on metering technology. April: Acquisition of Westbrook, Maine-based Pika Energy Inc. for $49 million. Pika designs and manufactures battery storage technologies, advanced power electronics, and software and controls for energy storage and management. 2020 July: Acquisition of Stockton, California-based West Coast Energy Systems for $22.9 million. WCES is an industrial distributor of Generac products. (Purchase price includes both WCES and Mean Green.) September: Acquisition of Ross, Ohio-based Mean Green Products for $22.9 million. Mean Green makes commercial grade, battery-powered turf care products. (Purchase price includes both WCES and Mean Green.) October: Acquisition of Denver-based Enbala Power Networks Inc. for $41.9 million. Enbala provides energy optimization and control software. 2021 June: Acquisition of Hunmanby, United Kingdom-based Deep Sea Electronics Limited for $420 million. Deep Sea makes control systems focused on global power generation. July: Acquisition of Los Angeles-based Chilicon Power for $61 million. Chilicon makes grid-interactive microinverter and monitoring solutions for the solar market. September: Acquisition of Bend, Oregon-based Apricity Code Corp. for $29.9 million. Apricity is an advanced engineering and product design company. (Purchase price includes both Apricity and Tank Utility.) September: Acquisition of Rugby, United Kingdom-based Off Grid Energy Ltd. for $56.9 million. Off Grid Energy makes industrial-grade, mobile energy storage systems. October: Acquisition of Boston-based Tank Utility Inc. for $29.9 million. Tank Utility provides IoT propane tank monitoring. (Purchase price includes both Apricity and Tank Utility.) December: Acquisition of Toronto-based ecobee Inc. for $735 million. ecobee manufactures smart thermostats. 2022 June: Acquisition of Marlborough, Massachusetts-based Electronic Environments Co. LLC for $25.6 million. EEC is an industrial generator distributor and provider of data center design and build services. (Purchase price includes both Blue Pillar and EEC.) October: Acquisition of Indianapolis-based BPAC Inc. (Blue Pillar) for $25.6 million. Blue Pillar is an industrial IoT platform developer. (Purchase price includes both Blue Pillar and EEC.) 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Tank Utility Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When was Tank Utility founded?
Tank Utility was founded in 2014.
Where is Tank Utility's headquarters?
Tank Utility's headquarters is located at 87 Summer Street, Boston.
What is Tank Utility's latest funding round?
Tank Utility's latest funding round is Acquired.
How much did Tank Utility raise?
Tank Utility raised a total of $10.81M.
Who are the investors of Tank Utility?
Investors of Tank Utility include Generac Holdings, Paycheck Protection Program, Energy Foundry, Blue Fog Capital, Serra Ventures and 6 more.