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A solar plant. (Bigstock Photo)

Renewable energy is on the rise, but it’s still tough for most companies to buy clean power. Seattle startup LevelTen Energy just raised $6.8 million with a goal of fixing that problem.

LevelTen, a 2017 graduate of the Seattle Techstars accelerator program, built a two-sided marketplace to help clean power providers sell their products to corporate clients. Investors in the round include Prelude Ventures, Techstars Venture Capital Fund, Founders’ Coop, Wireframe Ventures, Element 8 Fund and Avista Development. The company launched last year.

LevelTen Energy CEO Bryce Smith. (LevelTen Photo)

Like many startups, the idea for LevelTen was born out of a frustrating and inefficient market. CEO Bryce Smith has spent the last 20 years trying to make it easier for big companies to access clean energy, and the breaking point came when it took two years to complete a power sale at his last company to a corporate customer. At that point, he knew something had to change.

“We devised a platform that offers clean power in a way that’s far superior, in terms of risk, value, and transaction costs,” Smith told GeekWire in February. “Imagine if and Vanguard had a baby that really cared about clean energy.”

Big companies have been investing more in renewable energy in recent years. But these deals, LevelTen says, are complicated and only the largest corporations can pull them off.

LevelTen is working to fix this problem by bundling together a variety of wind, solar and other renewable projects into a portfolio, similar to a mutual fund. That makes it easier for a larger variety of companies to purchase power.

“The purchasing model before LevelTen Energy enabled the connection of one company to one project only,” Smith told GeekWire this week. “This has been extremely expensive, risky, and of course, has left out everyone except the most sophisticated buyers. LevelTen has developed portfolios of renewable energy projects that can be sliced into customized volumes — reducing costs and risks — and enabling the entry of all into the market.”

LevelTen today has 10 employees, and the company works out of an office in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.

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