Okra Solar, an Australian renewable energy deep-tech company, and previous winner of the TechCrunch Hardware Battlefield, has raised US $2.1 million to scale up their distribution of IoT-enabled Mesh-Grids in order to bring power to the 770 million people living off-grid globally.
SYDNEY, June 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Two family offices, Explorer Investments and Didendum, led the $2.1 million investment round into Okra Solar, alongside Schneider Electric Energy Access & Autodesk Foundation.
SDGx, a private UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) technology fund and advisory group, which invests exclusively in companies that can potentially reduce or remove 500MT of greenhouse gas emissions per year within the next decade, also invested.
From left to right: Okra COO, Callum Yap, and CEO, Afnan Hannan, after winning the TechCrunch Hardware Battlefield competition in Shenzhen 2019
Okra Solar’s proprietary hardware and software solutions enable access to productive and renewable electricity across the Nigeria, Philippines, Haiti and Cambodia.
The $2.1 million funding will be used to scale up commercial operations and product development as Okra Solar expands throughout Nigeria and Haiti.
Afnan Hannan, CEO of Okra Solar says: “It feels great to lock in this funding so that we can accelerate our growth. We’re excited to continue charging towards providing energy access for the 770 million people living in off-grid communities. Our Mesh-Grids leverage IoT and automation to make last-mile electrification affordable and sustainable – even for the most remote villages on the planet. Our innovation has spurred global demand from utility companies.”
Okra Solar is now opening its Series A round. It has already advanced discussions with a number of strategic investors with expectations of closing up to $6 million in order to accelerate product distribution in key markets.
Okra Solar’s focus market is Nigeria, a nation with abundant sunlight and the largest unelectrified population of approximately 80 million people. The country is seeing a number of technologies, such as mobile money and appliance financing, coalescing to disrupt conventional approaches of creating social impact. There are more than 100 private energy development companies deploying off-grid energy solutions and Okra Solar has partnered with some of the most innovative players – SAO Capital, Creeds Energy, Konexa, and First Electric – in launching Mesh-Grids in remote areas.
Recently, Okra Solar also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SAO Group to scale up their existing projects to an additional 290,000 homes over the next three years. If this partnership achieves its objectives, it will be the largest project globally to energise off-grid households with decentralised grids.
Recently, Nigeria underwent a policy makeover which incentivises private utilities to provide energy services by using competitive business models. Nigeria now boasts some of the best private utilities and a $550 million NEP off-grid financing program (the National Electrification Program,) funded by the African …….