A Digital Energy Platform That Detects, Eliminates and Monetizes Energy Waste

Plus, bonus pod w/ Eric Newcomer on the Unauthorized Story of Andreessen Horowitz


Pardon my run-on sentences, the wine was pouring yester(day)night. Inauguration Day was heavier than usual. Ok, no more political-talk forever, please & thank you!

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For my newbs; every week I breakdown a startup pitch with the added hook that you don’t have to be a rich guy to invest (if you don't know what that means, click here).

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Side Note: I’ve been saying for years that every company is a media company. What I meant was that if journalism doesn’t step it up, high profile brands and people will just take it upon themselves to “go-direct” (we recently saw this in all its glory with Coinbase).

What I didn't say was how devastatingly bad it could get… a recent story broke about Andreessen Horowitz opting to go-direct by launching its own media arm — rather than write 1,500 words on why this is a problem; I just invited the source (and fellow Substacker) Eric Newcomer on my pod to talk about what happens if we bypass fact-based reporting and just let brands publish with impunity.

Here’s my convo with Eric Newcomer 👉 https://spoti.fi/3izSmui

Follow me on Twitter @kitun.


Company Bio

COI Energy offers a disruptive technology platform that enables companies to maximize their potential savings from real-time demand management insights. The platform provides a dynamic overview of customers’ energy assets, collecting real time data to uncover resource availability allowing both businesses and utilities to generate value from these unused and often wasted energy sources. 

COI Energy is essentially a SaaS company, selling a dashboard that helps buildings and businesses more efficiently allocate energy.

It is, on its face, a no-lose proposition. More efficient energy delivery means lower costs and a reduction in CO2 emissions. You’re simultaneously saving money and doing your part to combat global warming. What’s not to like?

Meet the Founder

Watch my full interview with COI Energy Founder and CEO SaLisa Berrien, here.

SaLisa Berrien is COI Energy’s Founder & CEO. Prior to this, SaLisa spent 25 years in the electric power and smart grid spaces and actively supports collaboration between utilities and businesses to help the grid and the planet. Beyond her leadership at COI Energy, SaLisa is a Board Trustee at the University of Pittsburgh and Board Chair & Founder of STRIVE, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to increasing high school graduation rates and post-secondary school matriculation of culturally diverse youth. She is an active speaker and noted leader in the energy sector. 

To say that SaLisa is an impressive founder is a massive understatement. Not only does she have a TON of industry experience and clout, but she is cerebral on a rare level — we’re used to reviewing pitches from founders still trying to figure the business-end of things out; not in this case. SaLisa is introducing a solution to a decades old problem in a way that addresses the problem from the perspective of the owner/customer, rather than the profiteer — something that will bode well for COI Energy.


  • 150+ paying customers, including Citi, US Foods, TECO & NY Power Authority

  • Proprietary ML & AI generating best-in-class energy efficiency insights

  • Rise of the Rest, MassChallenge, Nasdaq Milestone Maker & 76West Alumna

  • Backed by Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab and SAP.iO

  • Recognized by Google 4 Startups as 1 of 30 Black founders to watch in 2021

This is a different type of startup opportunity (reflected in the price), more like when an industry leader takes an idea and years of know-how and relationships then just wraps a company around it — with some tech and venture bucks sprinkled in there. If you can’t tell, I like these type of businesses even more than I do the whopper of a market. COI is already fully operational with 150+ paying customers, backing from influential money and brands… the sky’s the limit.

Market Opportunity

COI Energy has a compelling product, and it appeals to both energy consumers and energy providers alike. Being able to sell into public and private organizations means a large addressable market for COI Energy, and considering how important global warming will be in the years ahead, companies and governments will be eager for tools that help them monitor and curb unnecessary energy consumption.

COI Energy’s greatest challenge will be fending off the competition. The number of companies building software tools for utility consumption is long, and it includes well-financed companies such as BlocPower ($12.9 million raised), Bidgely ($54.6 million) and Arcadia ($70.5 million), to name just a few.

COI does have some advantages, though. It already lists Morgan Stanley and SAP as backers, giving it a head start on development and marketing.

No one company will win in this space, and COI is poised to be among the companies that are successful.

Terms & Takeaway

Invest in COI Energy here 👉 https://bit.ly/39SKxvt

Security Type: Crowd Safe
Valuation Cap: $18,000,000
Investment Goal: $1,070,000
Raised (as of publishing): $369,533
Minimum Investment: $100

Here's what I like: The positive global impact is clear. As is the investment interest in carbon tech (trillions). Still, this is the quintessential, bet on the founder type of opportunity. I can tell you I have personally heard pitches on this problem-set more than a dozen times and not a single pitch had a solution that made economic sense like COI. In short, most offer cost-savings… pay up front, save tons on the back-end. Sadly, reality doesn’t work this way. It does in the most optimal conditions, but usually when SHTF these ops are first cuts… ask PE/PM model based companies how up-selling goes year two?? I’ll save you some time…. there is no year two. COI actually generates income and saves money at the same time. I love it. If there’s any way to get owners to give a shit, this is it.

Here's what I don't love: The price. That’s it. If I was talking Series A, or had a better grasp on the end game scenario I wouldn’t mind the $18m value cap — here, it just means I will need to be patient (something I suck hard at). The market is large enough that even if COI Energy is a small player, respectively, and it can still be a monster.

But, I don’t love that as a small investor I’m really in this for the long haul.

That said, the traction and trajectory suggests the next round will likely be a biggie.

Who should invest and why: The minimum is small at $100, the terms are pretty straightforward and if you’re like many of my friends betting on energy stocks & startups this is a pretty good bet. Strong founder, team and product with an immense TAM; if you invested in last week’s pitch, COI Energy is another opportunity to place a marker on the clean energy movement.

What’s cool about markets this size is that you don’t need to bet the farm to see a strong return, even a small investment can return a large’ish number… it just might take a decade to see ROI.

Not ideal for first-timers trying to get excited by returns, but if you’re banging away on the long gun — this is certainly a sector you can’t ignore.

As always, startup investing is super high risk, anything can happen. So, don't invest money you need to keep the lights on... 💡💸

Invest in COI Energy here 👉 https://bit.ly/39SKxvt

Questions? DM me on Twitter @kitun

Disclaimer: It goes without saying, but this information should not be constituted as financial advice, my investing opinions are my own and all diligence is the responsibility of each individual investor.