Operant Networks, a machine-to-machine communications provider, recently announced it raised $3.8M in seed funding led by Constellation Technology Ventures. The investment round was co-led by Thin Line Capital and Marin Sonoma Impact Ventures (MSIV). The announcement was made at RE+, North America’s largest and most comprehensive clean energy event. This investment furthers Operant’s commercial success, having already implemented their networking and cybersecurity services to over 3GW of vital infrastructure in the energy industry.
The company’s technology provides intelligence and security for the networks that connect operational technology (OT) systems used in the energy industry. That said, the founders of Operant have decades of expertise in developing products in the solar and telecommunications industries, the company said.
Operant’s core technology has the potential to change the game in cybersecurity solutions, according to a report published last year by the U.S. Department of Energy. This would enable a secure transition to an electric grid that doesn’t rely on carbon-based energy sources.
The technology essentially offers SASE network security that is adapted for the energy industry. SASE is Gartner’s name for secure access service edge, which is a combination of networking and security services that are primarily delivered through a cloud-based delivery model. SASE offerings, in theory, help simplify network management by offering highly customizable policy-based control that can be tailored by user identity, session context, and application needs for performance and security.
Constellation Energy, Operant’s primary investor and one of the nation’s leading clean energy providers, has collaborated with Operant.
“Backed by their extensive industry experience and market expertise, Operant Networks is poised to play a key role in advancing resilient communications, networking and cybersecurity in an evolving energy landscape,” said Jorge Acevedo, SVP, commercialization and development, Constellation. “We look forward to our collaboration with the Operant team as they advance their mission and develop their product offerings.”
According to the company, Keith Rose, the CEO of Operant Networks, is an expert at leading customer-facing teams for multiple renewable energy companies. He is now positioning his company to become the communications standard for this industry. “Our team has been involved in bringing groundbreaking products to the solar industry for over a decade. With Operant, not only are we trying to further advance the industry with innovative technology, but we also feel a strong sense of duty to align stakeholders in protecting the grid from the growing threat of cyber-attacks.”
While Operant views the energy sector as key to its success, it is not the only market it wants to provide solutions to. Rose believes that other industries have similar issues connecting to industrial field equipment.
“Traditional solutions force customers to choose between reliability, security, and cost. The inevitable result is poorly performing projects and inflated network and cyber response teams struggling to keep up,” stated Rose.
With its built-in networking and cybersecurity solutions, Operant says it reduces complexity and cost.
Founded in 2016, Operant has participated in several technology startup programs, including Alchemist Accelerator, CleanTech Open and Creative Destructive Labs.
Constellation Energy | edge security | IT/OT | networking | Operant | SASE | U.S. Department of Energy | venture capital