Sherry Hu, Ph.D., a long-time expert in the energy efficiency field, was frustrated by the growing number of devices in her home that wasted electricity when she thought the devices were turned off.
Sherry was managing large-scale energy efficiency programs for PG&E where she found it difficult to turn off everything she used, every time. Determined to understand how big this problem really was, she initially noticed nobody turned off the coffee maker in the break room. One day she measured how much electricity a coffee maker used when it just sits around. What Sherry discovered was staggering! The amount of electricity this one coffee maker used within one year generated close to a half ton of CO2, equivalent to driving an average car 1200 miles.
It’s estimated by the United States Department of Energy that the US wastes $18 billion per year on electricity to run devices while no one is using them. Power plants generate electricity to feed these unused devices, produce CO2 that 55 Million cars would produce in a single year. Sherry knew they had to do something to help this problem.
Their solution was to find a way to turn devices “on” and “off” automatically and do it in such a way that it would not interfere with people’s normal life. It would give them positive saving messages rather than telling them how much they wasted.
After Sherry made the first batch of prototypes, she was looking for a business partner who could help scale the solution. At that time, Sherry was serving as a board member of the International Building Performance Simulation Association – USA (IBPSA) where she met serial entrepreneur Mike Wilson, the chief executive of IBPSA.
Mike is a senior executive with 20 years of startup experience. He has a solid background in energy management in the commercial building sector as well as Sales, Marketing and Financial Management. Prior to joining BriteThings, he founded Sponsorbrite, a brand-sponsored platform for institutional fundraising, which he grew to over 100K users within the first year of operation. He also founded Virtual Learn, an online corporate training marketplace sold to Alamo Learning Systems.
BriteThings was founded in February 2016 by Mike Wilson and Sherry Hu. The company is based in Oakland, California.