MaRS client Smart Energy Instruments and Hitachi High-Tech launch new solution to improve grid reliability

TORONTO, December 3, 2013 – Smart Energy Instruments (SEI), a Toronto-based cleantech company with a unique solution to improve electric grid reliability, and Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation of Japan, today unveiled the first component of SEI’s planned chipset product line for smart grid applications in an event at MaRS Discovery District.

SEI is a client of MaRS’ Cleantech practice and a key investment in the MaRS Cleantech Fund. Its semiconductor chipset is a measurement and communications core for smart devices used in the generation and transmission of electric power, with advanced time synchronization capability to provide real-time measurements vital to improving grid reliability and efficiency and accelerating the shift to renewable energy sources.

“Escalating global climate and energy challenges in the next decade speak to a dire need for technologies like ours,” said D. Jeff Dionne, CEO of SEI. “In most of the developed world we’ve been spoiled with relatively good power reliability up to now. However, events like Hurricane Sandy and the double blackout for 600 million people in India last year, and Fukushima before that have shattered that perception. We are elated that our first silicon was a success and are excited about being the first to offer a high performance, industry-specific solution.”

Canadian government leaders have made it abundantly clear that innovation leadership in smart grid is a key priority for Canada. SEI is one of the few semiconductor companies in Canada in the cleantech space, and the only one addressing grid infrastructure. Smart grid and smart energy technologies have been cited by more than one analyst as a trillion dollar opportunity, given the global importance of electricity and its impact on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

“To turn a grid into a smart grid, you need visibility. Highly detailed, real-time visibility on the grid is what SEI’s chipset provides. It’s so detailed you can even see which direction power is flowing,” said Tom Rand, co-managing director, MaRS Cleantech Fund and SEI Board member. “Without low-cost, high-granularity visibility into the grid there’s just no ‘smart’ to ‘smart grid.’ SEI provides unparalleled visibility at a highly competitive price.”

“Our focus from the start has been global, as that is where the real game must be played, with companies like GE and ABB,” said Dionne. SEI has an impressive list of global partners, including Siemens and Hitachi High-Technologies of Japan, which is responsible for IP licensing, commercialization and sales.

“With the growing importance of energy efficiency, reliability and transition to renewable energy, not only in Japan but around the world, we see a strong potential and societal benefit for SEI’s products. We are proud to be a leading strategic partner in the commercialization and SEI’s technology,” says Seiji Seki, General Manager, Electronic Materials Division, Hitachi High-Technologies. 

About SEI
Smart Energy Instruments (SEI) develops game-changing, synchronous measurement technologies for the burgeoning “smart grid” to address today’s global energy-environment challenges. SEI’s mission is to create a sustainable electricity future through higher grid efficiency, reliability and renewables integration using ubiquitous synchronized measurements. Incorporated in 2004, SEI is based in Toronto, Canada with a wholly owned subsidiary in Tokyo, Japan. For more information, visit

About Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation
Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is engaged in activities in a broad range of fields, including Electronic Device Systems, Fine Technology Systems, Science & Medical Systems, Industrial & IT Systems, and Advanced Industrial Products. The company’s consolidated sales for FY 2012 were more than $6.1 billion. For further information, visit

About MaRS
MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) is a mission-driven innovation centre located in Toronto. MaRS works with partners to catalyze, accelerate and amplify innovation. MaRS supports entrepreneurs building Canada’s next generation of growth companies. MaRS’ ventures have created over 4,000 jobs and, in the last three years alone, they have raised over $750 million in capital and earned over $375 million in revenue. 

About MaRS Cleantech Fund
MaRS Cleantech Fund ( is a privately-backed Canadian venture fund focused on early-stage cleantech investing. The Fund has developed a unique investment model through its partnership with one of the largest innovation centres in the world, MaRS Discovery District. Through MaRS, the Fund is able to provide strategic advisory services and introductions to global corporate partners. The fund is managed by Tom Rand (@trand, and Murray McCaig (@murraymccaig), two experienced entrepreneurs who bring a wealth of startup experience to their portfolio companies.

For more information, contact:
Melissa Hughes
Manager, Media & Community Relations
MaRS Discovery District
(416) 673-8200 ext. 2710