Technology

Beacon Power Services raises $2.7M to improve electricity access for sub-Saharan African cities – TechCrunch

Reportedly, sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 77% of the world’s population without access to electricity in 2020. Also, the average daily power supply in some of Africa’s largest cities is less than 12 hours. As a result, individuals and businesses are finding other options and substitutes, such as B. Generators to solve their electricity problems. However, these solutions can either be costly to use or adversely affect the climate.

While solar grids and panels are another viable option and offer compelling end-user use cases, there is still an opportunity to launch products aimed at power distribution companies, and this is where Beacon Power Services (BPS) comes in. The energy technology company, which provides data and grid management solutions to help Africa’s energy sector distribute electricity more efficiently, today announced it has closed a US$2.7 million seed round.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer Bimbola Adisa, an aerospace engineer, founded the company in 2014 after several years working for a power turbine manufacturer and as an investment banker for the US energy sector. Among his customers, most of his customers have included energy suppliers, service providers and manufacturers. In an interview with TechCrunch, he said that these experiences exposed him to the application of technology in the energy sector, and he saw an opportunity to apply it in Nigeria and across Africa.

Adisa introduced BPS in 2014 to address insufficient power supply from power distribution companies. Based in the US and Nigeria, the utility company provides energy management software and analytics for utility companies. Its AI-enabled Adora grid management platform solves one of two fundamental problems faced by power distribution companies in Africa.

The software provides utilities with real-time visibility of grid performance and connects to all utility assets and customer nodes on the grid, allowing utilities to prevent and detect outages and grid losses, respond quickly, and distribute power more efficiently. “The result is that utilities can operate more efficiently, generate more revenue, and by reducing outages, customers get increased power (more hours per day), so everyone wins,” BFS said of how it works in an email response to TechCrunch by Adora.

The other problem is data-centric and is addressed by the company’s proprietary platform called Customer and Asset Information Management Systems (CAIMs). Utility companies in Africa struggle to maintain an accurate database of their customers, assets and grid topology (the relationship between assets and customers). The CAIMs solve this problem by taking into account the unique conditions in which Africa’s utilities operate, such as poor address systems, and helping them digitize their data, which serves as the basis for network improvements.

“Africa is home to the world’s fastest growing cities, but when most people think of access to energy in Africa, they think of the rural areas with little or no access to electricity. However, it is impossible for Africa to develop without significant improvements in electricity access and reliability in its major cities,” CEO Adisa said in a statement. “When we realized that solutions designed for mature markets could not address Africa’s unique infrastructure challenges, we developed a tailored solution for energy companies on the continent to improve daily grid delivery of electricity.”

Bim Adissa (Managing Director)

Adisa told TechCrunch that BPS has grown from a single utility in Nigeria to four utilities in two countries including Ghana, serving more than 8 million customers (residential and commercial). According to Adisa, the business model of BPS envisages working together with its customers in a long-term partnership and not just selling products. This allows the company to defer most of the upfront cost of deploying its technology in exchange for service-based payments that match the value it is creating.

The eight-year-old utility differentiates itself from other platforms because it offers “local solutions that take into account the local operating environment in Africa.” For example, most standard solutions developed for mature markets do not take into account the frequency of outages in Africa or the network communication problems encountered, but BPS claims that its solutions have solved that.

The Company’s seed round was led by Seedstars Africa Ventures with participation from Persistent Energy, Kepple Africa Ventures and Factor[e] and Oridun Capital Management. Maxime Bouan, Managing Partner at Seedstars Africa Ventures, said of the investment: “As a society, we have recognized climate change as one of the greatest threats facing our generation and it is critical that we deploy smart capital to support entrepreneurs across Africa creating innovative and localized solutions to address this challenge.”

The new funding would allow BPS to enhance its current products (product upgrades to add new features and integrate automation) and expand into new markets outside of Nigeria and Ghana, where it currently operates.

https://techcrunch.com/2022/08/05/beacon-power-services-raises-2-7m-to-improve-electricity-access-for-sub-saharan-african-cities/ Beacon Power Services raises $2.7M to improve electricity access for sub-Saharan African cities – TechCrunch

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