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50 Innovative Companies to Watch 2023

Employee-centric EnerConnex is dedicated to addressing the evolving needs of its clients all while contributing to a more sustainable and resilient energy ecosystem

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“Over the years, we have established a culture that values creativity, efficiency, and problem-solving.”

EnerConnex was established as an energy advisory company connecting energy buyers and sellers via an online energy marketplace (ECX Marketplace). The company’s overall goal is to simplify the complex energy procurement process for commercial, industrial, institutional, and governmental customers using an efficient, transparent, hyper-competitive, proven, online procurement process utilizing technology. EnerConnex has grown notably year over year since its inception with these founding objectives. It serves clients in the United States.

EnerConnex was founded in 2016 and is headquartered in Folsom, New Jersey.

The Silicon Review reached out to Tony Barnhart (TB) and Vitana Melesiute (VM), who serve as Managing Directors at EnerConnex, and here's their response.

Interview Highlights

Q. As a leading energy advisory company, what are EnerConnex’s key focus areas?

VM: Our key focus areas include helping our customers with energy procurement, renewables, and sustainability. With access to one of the largest supplier networks, a proprietary online, pricing platform, and extensive industry expertise, we tailor energy strategies based on the specific needs and sustainability goals of the companies we work with. 

Setbacks are a part of every growing business. Tell us about a few roadblocks and learning lessons that helped EnerConnex grow through the years.

TB: We started the company when energy suppliers were reducing the number of energy advisory companies they did business with. Fortunately, strong energy supplier relationships with company founders allowed EnerConnex to overcome this industry trend of energy broker consolidation amongst suppliers. Without the energy suppliers, it would have been very hard to accomplish our objective of connecting energy buyers and sellers.

Also, we co-developed our online auction platform – ECX Marketplace, with no external funding. This took time and a lot of creativity to develop a real-time, energy-specific, procurement platform with very limited financial resources.

Q. What strategies do you have in place to encourage innovation in your company?

VM: At EnerConnex, fostering innovation is a core aspect of our company culture and overall business strategy. We mentioned above how our creativity enabled us to launch ECX Marketplace with only limited financial resources. We believe innovation is essential to staying competitive and delivering cutting-edge solutions in the ever-evolving energy industry. Customers always have a business problem to solve related to energy and we want to be the company they look to help them solve it. 

Over the years, we have established a culture that values creativity, efficiency, and problem-solving. Our leadership team encourages employees to think outside the box and challenge the status quo. We recognize and reward innovative ideas and efforts. This approach has led us from an electric and natural gas procurement-only company to now assisting companies with other energy services – be it energy audits, energy efficiency, renewable energy power purchase agreements, or behind-the-meter solar.

We maintain a strong focus on understanding our customers’ needs and challenges and then tailor our solutions to better meet their requirements. We believe this approach is highly effective given our high customer acquisition and retention rates. 

Q. Can you provide us with one or two success stories describing the challenges your clients faced and how EnerConnex helped them overcome those challenges?

VM: A well-respected printing shop in the Washington D.C. area has been an EnerConnex client for four years now. After they renewed their electricity contract terms with us, they were looking to take their commitment to a cleaner energy future to the next step. EnerConnex worked diligently to facilitate REC purchases and Carbon offset transactions to reduce this customer’s carbon footprint. 

Another one of our clients, a large luxury condo association in the Philadelphia area, was looking to reach their aggressive corporate sustainability goals so they reached out to their point of contact at EnerConnex. EnerConnex tapped into its large supplier network, leveraging our proprietary online pricing platform, ECX Marketplace, to seek out an energy supplier that would be the best fit for them and their large energy load, while also looking for opportunities to use renewable energy sources whenever possible. With more than a dozen different suppliers submitting offers, EnerConnex was able to incorporate 50% renewable energy into the customer’s energy supply all while still saving over 12% on their next-term energy costs.

Tell us, what’s next for EnerConnex.     

TB: As EnerConnex continues to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing energy landscape, our focus remains on driving innovation, sustainability, and value for our clients and strategic partners. Just like we disrupted the traditional energy supplier-customer relationship model by bringing price discovery and a transparent process via our online platform – ECX Marketplace, thereby lowering overall costs and streamlining energy buyers’ energy commodity procurement, we intend to continue disrupting the energy space by finding ways to utilize ECX Marketplace for renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainability.

EnerConnex will continue to find energy solutions for our clients that help them reduce energy consumption and operational costs. We are dedicated to addressing the evolving needs of our clients all while contributing to a more sustainable and resilient energy ecosystem.

Q. Is there anything you would like to add before we wrap up?

TB: Our success to date at EnerConnex is more than just ECX Marketplace. We like to think of our differentiators and why companies choose to do business with us stems from our people – our team has many decades of energy expertise; our process – proven processes yielding excellent results for our customers; and our technology – ECX Marketplace. Hiring the right people, allowing them to execute and innovate all while utilizing a technology-enabled platform for efficiency will continue to drive innovation, growth and success at EnerConnex. 

Leadership | EnerConnex

The EnerConnex leadership team, (consisting of Eric Niemeyer, Vitana Melesiute, Janet Loop, Brian Dafferner, Jim Hooven, Tom Dufraine and Tony Barnhart) has a long history in energy, technology and entrepreneurialism. Several of our leaders have founded or been principals in early energy-related start-ups and emerging companies that have led to successful businesses. With a diverse set of skills and deep industry knowledge, this team has been instrumental in guiding EnerConnex to the forefront of the energy sector.

Leveraging over 100 years of combined energy experience has given the EnerConnex leadership team the ability to foster strategic partnerships and drive significant growth for the company. This team’s in-depth understanding of market trends and client needs has been pivotal in growing EnerConnex’s client base. The collective individual skill sets of the EnerConnex leadership team have played a crucial role in the company's ability to deliver tailored solutions that meet clients' sustainability goals and objectives.

“We maintain a strong focus on understanding our customers’ needs and challenges then tailor our solutions to better meet their requirements. We believe this approach is highly effective given our high customer acquisition and retention rates.”