Next Step Living, Once a Promising Energy Startup, Shuts Down

Next Step Living, one of Boston’s biggest bets in energy efficiency, has shut down.

Greentech Media first reported the news Thursday, and Next Step Living confirmed on its website that it is ending operations, effective today.

“After eight years, and tens of thousands of customers served, we are incredibly grateful to all of our team members, customers, partners, and investors who helped us along the way,” the company wrote. “As mission-driven people who wanted to positively impact our community and planet, we wish we could have done more and done better by all parties.”

Next Step Living offered a variety of home energy products and services. It started out by focusing on home energy-efficiency audits, but later branched out into things like solar power, either through rooftop panel installations or shared community solar programs.

The company grew to more than 800 employees and more than $100 million in annual revenue, Greentech Media reported. But it was down to just 200 employees at the end. Greentech pegged Next Step Living’s total venture capital haul at more than $80 million. Its investors included Black Coral Capital, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Braemar Energy Ventures, and Massachusetts Green Energy Fund.

Geoff Chapin started the company in 2008 and ran it as CEO until he stepped down last December. Chris Catalano, the company’s CFO, took over as chief executive.

Massachusetts legislators’ failure to raise the state’s cap on solar net metering—which allows businesses and municipalities to sell solar energy back to the grid at retail rates—might have contributed to Next Step Living’s demise, according to a local solar company executive quoted by the Boston Business Journal. Zaid Ashai, CEO of Boston-based Nexamp, told the newspaper that he thinks Next Step Living was “the first chip to fall” as a result of the state’s energy “policy quagmire.”

On its website, Next Step Living said “future commitments made on behalf of Next Step Living will be made by Western Technology Investment,” which is a venture debt firm based in California.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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