Why Flex-Power Startup Blueprint Signed On With BP

Robyn Beavers, founder of the Manhattan-based technology company, says the fossil-fuel giant’s commitment to decarbonization made the deal appealing

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Global energy giant BP has acquired Manhattan-based Blueprint Power, a proptech startup that has built proprietary software enabling real estate portfolios to become sources of cleaner flexible power, BP announced Thursday.

Terms of the acquisition were not made public.

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In acquiring Blueprint Power, BP has made its latest move toward what it proclaims on the company website as its “journey to net zero” carbon emissions.

“BP, as a global company, has undergone a massive shift towards net zero businesses and strategies,” said Robyn Beavers, Blueprint Power’s founder and CEO. “There are some pretty major commitments in terms of capital allocation and reduction of carbon from their core businesses that happened after I started Blueprint.

“For BP it’s actually a new thing. It’s about 18 to 24 months old. And they’ve been moving very fast. As part of that strategy, they have strategically been looking for technology companies that can help them accelerate in that shift.”

BP’s platform will allow Blueprint Power, which was founded in 2017 and has 11 full-time employees, to hire and scale rapidly, Beavers said. “As a company, they bring trading desks with some of the best power traders in the business, other renewable energy portfolio companies and platforms, and they have a massive EV-charging platform. All those pieces are really strategic for us. It is a nice match for both sides. Blueprint can scale faster strategically, but also to help BP’s overall shift towards this new future for them.”

Asked if being acquired by a fossil fuel-based company caused her any concerns about BP’s commitment to cleaner energy, Beavers said, “BP is at an interesting point in time, with a massive shift towards decarbonization of its own business, which obviously is huge incremental value in terms of climate impact. They’re also expanding their businesses into clean power and the types of things blueprint does.

“By partnering and rowing in the same direction with them, I truly believe that will deliver impact faster than trying to do it separately from each other. I think this partnership and collaboration speaks to the growing speed we can deliver that climate impact, and that’s the most important thing to me.”

The acquisition came about “organically,” Beaver said. “One woman at BP actually attended our first demo day ever. She has been tracking us since then. It was your usual organic networking approach.”

Founded in response to new energy regulations after the Hurricane Sandy blackout in New York City, Blueprint uses bespoke algorithms to optimize the energy efficiency of buildings and connect them to power markets. This allows commercial building owners to sell surplus energy stored in batteries or power generated on site from equipment such as solar panels.  

Blueprint Power works with some of New York City’s largest commercial real estate owners, including Hines, Lefrak Organization, Lennar, Macerich, Related, Tishman Speyer and Vornado Realty Trust, which together own more than 100 million square feet of property in the city and generate 13 MW of renewable power, according to the company. BP and Blueprint want to increase that number to 36 MW by the end of 2022.

“Decarbonizing dense urban areas is a key challenge as we work to play our part in realizing a net zero world,” Sam Skerry, senior vice president, BP Launchpad & Ventures, said in a statement. “Blueprint’s technology can help deliver this critical transformation. It can help secure access to renewable energy and, importantly, also create new business opportunities for many sectors. This is exactly the type of company BP wants to scale and scale fast through our BP Launchpad accelerator.”

BP Launchpad is the company’s in-house accelerator focused on multi-year funding and start-up growth.

Blueprint’s technology can support the decarbonization of real estate, which has one of the highest carbon footprints of all sectors, contributing an estimated 28 percent of global annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Philip Russo can be reached at prusso@commercialobserver.com.