By LAURA LOREK, publisher of Silicon Hills News

Melissa Simpler, Co-Founder and CEO of Affinegy, which just announced its acquisition by NISC, courtesy photo

Homes are increasingly becoming smarter with devices like Nest thermostats, Ring doorbells, voice-activated assistants and more connecting them to the Internet.

And Austin-based Affinegy, a 13-year-old company that creates software to manage Wi-Fi for the Internet of Things, has been at the forefront of the industry.

This week, Affinegy, a privately-held company, announced it has been acquired by National Information Solutions Cooperative, known as NISC, based in St. Louis.

Affinegy, founded in 2003 by Melissa Simpler and Art Lancaster, did not disclose the financial terms of the transaction. The company is based at 1705 S. Capital of Texas Highway and has about 20 employees.

 Affinegy raised a small Series A round of funding in 2007 from angel investors and later bought most of them out, said Simpler, Affinegy’s CEO. It has been bootstrapped and running on revenue since then, she said.

Affinegy will rebrand as NISC User Services and maintain its Austin office, Simpler said. In fact, NISC plans to add more employees in Austin as Pedernales Electric Coop., based in Johnson City, is one of its largest customers in Texas, she said.

Affinegy and NISC made the acquisition announcement in Chicago at the NTCA Technology and Business Conference.

“I’m really happy. It is such a good fit for our whole team. They bought us for very strategic reasons,” Simpler said in a phone interview.  “This is the way they define how they go forward in the marketplace. That’s how strategic they view what we do to their future.”

Affinegy provides connected device management and service enablement software for the home and small business to telecom and broadband providers. Its software offers seamless integration of video, data, voice over Wi-Fi for broadband, managed service and customer support providers. It also has an app for consumers to manage their connected devices in the home.

Affinegy’s CHARIOT software platform makes it easy to turn on  entertainment, internet, security, home automation, and wellness services, Simpler said.

NISC has launched the NISC User Services System which uses Affinegy’s software. NISC is offering it independently to its customers or part of its customer car and billing solutions along with NISC’s Smarthub web and mobile tools for payment processing and order management. NISC’s customers are primarily electric and telecom providers in rural communities.

NISC offers a product called iVUE which provides accounting, engineering and customer care functions. Affinegy’s products will be available across its platform and will allow its members to provide enhanced broadband services to its customers. NISC has 835 energy and telecommunications members in all 50 states, American Samoa, Palau and Canada. It has offices in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Lake Saint Louis, Mo., Mandan, North Dakota and Shawano, Wis.

 “The NISC User Services System offers fast, automated diagnostics and single-click repairs for the most common Wi-Fi connectivity and performance issues in broadband homes,”  David Bonnett, NISC vice president of product management, said in a news release. “It also provides consumers with all the self-care capabilities for managing their home Wi-Fi networks and adding new services.”

The NISC-Affinegy combined product also lets broadband providers file reports with the Federal Communications Commission to access funds set aside for providing high-speed Internet service to rural areas. Many electric utility providers have installed fiber cable to homes in rural areas and are now using those networks to provide Internet service, Simpler said.

Simpler graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in electrical engineering. She also later received an MBA from UT Austin. Before co-founding Affinegy, Simpler was a co-founder of Entregate. She has also served in corporate business and engineering management roles at Motorola, Dell and National Instruments.