Vice President of Communities, Facebook
Amit Narayan’s 15-year-old son is finally starting to understand what his dad does, which puts him ahead of most teenagers — and adults for that matter.
An electrical engineer, Narayan is the founder and chief executive of AutoGrid, a leading grid-services startup that’s raised $85 million in venture capital on the promise of creating what he calls an “energy internet.”
The electrical grid has thousands of power sources, that range from utility-scale power plants to rooftop solar panels and home batteries, as well as devices that draw power like electric cars. Managing all those points of supply and demand, requires complex software and big data, especially as more intermittent renewable energy is added to the grid.
It’s a task fit for Narayan, who spent his early career optimizing semiconductor microchips, such as those found in an iPhone. In a sense, he says, they’re like mini electrical grids.
“They follow the same laws of physics,” he says. “Those tiny little metal wires start behaving as transmission lines.”
Today, AutoGrid works with a range of different companies, from Google Nest to Tesla, most recently partnering with the rooftop solar giant Sunrun. The startup’s software will help Sunrun turn its fleet of batteries in customer homes into a virtual power plant, helping manage electricity demand.