SA bitcoin crowdfunding startup The Sun Exchange raises $60k

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South African startup The Sun Exchange, a marketplace that crowdfunds small-scale solar projects using digital currencies such as bitcoin, has raised US$60,000 from Silicon Valley firm BoostVC to build its team.

Disrupt Africa reported earlier this year on The Sun Exchange, which was launched at the end of 2015 and is a peer-to-peer lending platform that connects people wanting to invest in solar energy with projects.

Founder Abraham Cambridge said the startup was establishing itself as a middleman between potential funders and projects, using bitcoin as a way of making effective remittances. The company has already completed its first projects in South Africa.

Having temporarily relocated to Silicon Valley to raise investment, the startup has now raised US$60,000 from BoostVC. Cambridge and his team are putting together a working demo of the world’s first commercially viable solar energy smart-contract system, and will then be seeking seed capital of US$1.2million.

“We have appointed a new CTO, a COO, and have a number of software developers now working with us, all Johannesburg-based,” he told Disrupt Africa.

“The financial investment affords us world class software developers and an A-grade legal team. But financial aside, the most valuable part of the transaction is the four months in Silicon Valley attending BoostVC, establishing ourselves in the world’s leading tech scene. It gives us utmost credibility and confirmation that what we are doing is leading edge trail blazing stuff.”

The Sun Exchange was named a winner at the Innotribe Startup Challenge earlier this year, and sprang from Cambridge’s background in climate change and environmental management, all of which he said eventually pointed him towards energy.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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