Business Journal: Former Ameren CEO becomes chairman of tech startup; raises $31 million

Joe Dwyer
St. Louis Business Journal

Tom VossThomas Voss, former chairman, president and CEO of Ameren Corp., has joined Smart Wires as company chairman. Smart Wires is an Oakland, California-based startup with technology that could turn transmission lines into flexible power conduits for a growing solar- and wind-powered grid.

The company raised another $30.8 million from a single investor in its latest round of funding, according to a June 3 filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The investor is 3×5 Special Opportunity Fund, an investment vehicle formed by St. Louis-based RiverVest Venture Partners, along with Arnerich Massena & Associates. RiverVest is led by co-founder and managing partner Jay Schmelter.

Smart Wires will use the money to bring its first product, the PowerLine Guardian device, to commercial-scale production this year, and to finish development of its second product, the PowerLine Router device, so it can be field tested early next year.

Smart Wires has raised a total of about $62.8 million, including a nearly $4 million grant from ARPA-E, the Department of Energy energy research program. David Ratcliffe, former CEO of Southern Co., recently joined the startup’s advisory board. Jim Davis is CEO of Smart Wires.

Original article.