Tanzania’s STIC Labs wins Negawatt Challenge final in Barcelona

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Tanzanian team STIC Labs has been named the winner of the World Bank’s Negawatt Challenge at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, signalling the culmination of a competition that also saw local legs in Ghana, Kenya and Brazil.

The World Bank’s Negawatt Challenge has been hosting innovation competitions in cities worldwide, including Nairobi, Accra and Dar es Salaam, focused on energy efficiency and low carbon use.

The challenge inspired 41 solutions around energy and water efficiency, supported 16 teams through a targeted bootcamp, and accelerated eight startups. After coming through their local competitions, E-Manager (Brazil), Sun Shade Energy (Ghana) and Plugin Pulse (Kenya) pitched at the event alongside virtual track winner e-Save and STIC Labs from Tanzania, the eventual winner.

STIC Labs is a pre-paid water metering system that performs revenue monitoring, provides security for private water resources and provides data on the water source. It can be operated in two modes: as a point of sale (PoS), which can either offer mobile money or coin-based payment, and as a household pre-paid meter, which offers mobile money payment.

Sun Shade Energy from Ghana was acknowledged as the most original idea. The team uses “Sunspecs” to protect homes from excessive heat gain; targeting the window.

“It’s been a great few days working with the teams – apart from the sheer pleasure of working with such a smart, open-minded bunch of entrepreneurs, what’s been most impressive to me is how closely all their ideas are targeting real local needs. That’s at the core of what I try to teach startups: Solve a real problem for a customer you know and understand. It’s at the root of all successful businesses,” said Ian Collingwood, chief operating officer (COO) and programme director at Startupbootcamp Barcelona Internet of Things and Data Accelerator and one of the mentors to the Negawatt Challenge startups.

“I have no doubt that these teams will go on to be exactly that: successful, sustainable businesses whose founders succeed because of their close connection to their customers.  For me it was a privilege to work with them and I’m looking forward to staying in touch and doing business with them over the course of their careers.”

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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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