Say the word “utility” and most of us think of our local electric, water, or gas provider. Essential services that underpin our daily lives that we give little thought to unless there’s a service interruption or an unexpected spike in the bill. But behind every bill is a complex infrastructure of both physical and digital components that must be managed for optimum efficiency in order to (literally) keep the lights on.
Utilities leverage software to manage their operations and customer interactions—software called Customer Information Systems (CIS). Despite its criticality as the “heart and lungs” of a utility, the CIS space has seen decades of relative stagnation as evidenced by virtually zero new entrants and the vast majority of the market belonging to legacy, on-premise vendors. Today, a number of challenges and opportunities facing utilities—including evolving consumer expectations, EV / dynamic energy pricing further driving complexity, an increasingly distributed workforce, security threats, and physical infrastructure advancements—have produced the perfect storm in driving the industry’s desire for CIS modernization. The utilities CIS market is a textbook example of an industry struggling under the weight of legacy software in need of a new-age SaaS solution.
While we saw a clear “why now” for the utilities CIS space, we also knew that it was a difficult market to build a business in due to the multi-year product development lifecycle, long and complex sales motion and implementation process, and most importantly, the deep utilities experience and expertise required. We hadn’t found a company bringing innovation to the market—until SpryPoint.
Founded by Veterans of the Utilities Software Industry
The SpryPoint executive team consists of Keir Pollard, Kyle Strang, Ryan Cawley, and Kevin Clancey, veterans of the utilities software industry all hailing from beautiful Prince Edward Island, Canada. While the team came from different functional areas of a software business (engineering, product, sales), they all collectively understood the shortcomings of CIS incumbents and shared a joint vision of a radically different solution. Serendipitously, an alphabetical seating chart at their former employer brought Keir and Kyle together first as coworkers, then as friends and eventually—after leaving to pursue other initiatives—business partners. Keir launched SpryPoint in 2011 with Kyle, Ryan,and Kevin joining the team shortly thereafter, completing the puzzle to help round out the team.
The early days of SpryPoint involved an estimated 75,000 hours of product development prior to the commercialization of the CIS, working closely with utilities to test and iterate on the platform. The team bootstrapped the operation entirely, funding development through ongoing consulting projects, point solutions, and Canadian R&D grants. In a display of conviction in their vision and years of patience, SpryCIS was launched in 2020—the industry’s first cloud CIS platform built from the ground up.
Rapid Market Adoption and a Passionate Customer Base
Less than three years post-launch, SpryPoint’s performance speaks for itself, with rapid market adoption fueled by unprecedented win rates and key customer wins that have sent shockwaves throughout the industry. Staying true to its capital efficient roots, SpryPoint continues to double revenue while maintaining meaningful profitability. SpryPoint, the “new kid on the block,” has catapulted itself to the forefront of the utilities CIS space with its true cloud architecture, robust feature set, best-in-class security, and customer-first approach.
At Norwest, a key part of our due diligence is to speak to customers. We’ve conducted thousands of references on hundreds of SaaS companies, but never have we encountered customers that speak with the level of passion and enthusiasm that we heard from SpryPoint’s customer base. Sound bites include: “choosing SpryPoint was the best decision I’ve made in my career” and “we were sold during the product demo and our experience has only gotten better with time… I would invest my 401(k) in SpryPoint if I could”. When we asked customers if they would ever consider switching to another CIS vendor it was often met with a laugh or a shudder.
Over a meal featuring famous PEI oysters, we shared our excitement about SpryPoint and our experience scaling disruptive SaaS companies from a similar stage as SpryPoint to billion-dollar outcomes in Avetta, Cority and Galvanize (the latter two which happen to also be Canadian). The SpryPoint team didn’t need to raise capital, but decided now is the time to partner with a value-added investor to capture the massive market opportunity ahead and accelerate toward their mission.
It’s easy to get excited about great businesses doing disruptive things but it’s thrilling to partner with founders and management teams who share our core values of trust, integrity, customer centricity and a sense of humor and humility along the way. We are proud to announce our substantial strategic investment in SpryPoint and couldn’t be more excited to partner with Keir, Kyle, Ryan and Kevin.
With our investment, we are excited to be their partners in the long-overdue revolution of the utility software market, and to work alongside the team to drive product innovation, expand S&M efforts, grow the team, and continue to put customers first. Now that’s an electric partnership.