Iron Dome developer nabs investment from New Zealand customer

The deal comes as New York Power Authority also starts using mPrest’s technology to keep systems secure

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

File: An Iron Dome battery seen near the southern Israeli town of Netivot on December 27, 2014. (Talucho/Flash90)
File: An Iron Dome battery seen near the southern Israeli town of Netivot on December 27, 2014. (Talucho/Flash90)

mPrest, the Israeli firm that developed the Iron Dome missile defense technology, said on Monday that its customer, New Zealand’s Vector Limited, an electricity and gas distributor, has made a $10 million investment in the firm, and will act as a selling partner in the Oceania region.

Vector joins current mPrest investors OurCrowd, GE Ventures, Angeleno Group, Israel Electric Corporation and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems LTD.

Vector is an infrastructure company that delivers energy and communication services to over 1.2 million homes and businesses in New Zealand. The firm has investments in businesses including electricity and gas, and it has laid out smart meters and commercial solar and battery energy solutions in New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific.

The investment in and partnership with mPrest follows Vector’s collaboration with the Israeli firm to develop a new application, a so-called “system of systems” that unifies and optimizes the working of network assets and enables integrating new customer needs into existing networks, the companies said in a joint statement.

Governor-General of New Zealand, Her Excellency the Right Honorable Dame Patsy Reddy (left), and mPrest founder and CEO, Natan Barak at an event in Jerusalem on Oct. 30 announcing the mPrest, Vector Limited investment (Courtesy)

“Our partnership with Vector is what we strive for — a happy customer who gains confidence in our software and comes back not only wanting to invest in it, but also to help replicate its success for other customers,” said Natan Barak, chief executive officer of mPrest, in the statement. “Vector’s interest in transitioning from customer to investor and business partner is a powerful vote of confidence in mPrest — an established player in the utility and energy space is not only willing to implement mPrest into production, but is willing to stand behind our product as a distributor as well.”

Under the agreement, Vector will assist mPrest in distributing its software in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. The partnership is representative of a larger market trend as utilities like Vector start using industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions within their networks, the statement said.

“Using mPrest’s comprehensive monitoring, analytics and control software allows us to manage complex energy systems in much more sophisticated ways, harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and rapid and cumulative decision making to unlock new energy solutions for consumers,” said Simon Mackenzie, chief executive officer of Vector Limited, in the statement.

The technology allows engineers to manage and predict outages and allow the efficient delivery of energy to and from the grid from a control room, he explained.

“This ‘Internet of Energy’ platform capability that has been co-developed is world-leading and we think is the next big evolution in energy systems and platforms. As well as using it to add significant ‘smarts’ to our own networks to benefit customers, we look forward to delivering these solutions to our partners and to other energy companies across Australia and the South Pacific, and in the process sharing in mPrest’s global success as an investor in the company,” Mackenzie said.

The New York Power Authority is also using mPrest technology to stop power outages before they start.

“When a growing tech company like mPrest lands a major strategic customer like Vector it’s a major milestone and when that strategic customer becomes an investor as well, it’s cause for celebration,” OurCrowd founder and CEO Jon Medved said by email.

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