Ugandan energy startup gnuGrid has raised a US$250,000 funding round as it works to scale its solution to more customers at home and into additional African markets.
Launched in 2019 by David Opio and James Dailey, gnuGrid has built Solar Sentra, which aims to streamline and automate the highly fragmented solar industry in Uganda and beyond by using AI-optimised sensors to monitor solar systems and collect data on power usage which is used by solar companies to tailor service delivery.
gnuGrid bundles this hardware with digital payments, predictive analytics, customer profiling and data management, among others, to help solar companies operate more efficiently at lower cost.
The startup raised US$50,000 in 2019 to develop its tech engine, pilot, and launch the product into the market, and has now raised an additional US$250,000 from the US-based investors to help it connect off-grid solar companies with Uganda’s Credit Reference Bureau (CRB).
“The CRB will help many off-grid solar companies and informal financial institutions to de-risk pay-as-you-go investment and loan investments, and also predict the default rate. The purpose of the investment is to collect over two million customers into the CRB, hire more talents, and set up more data storage infrastructures because it is a requirement by the Bank of Uganda,” Opio told Disrupt Africa.
gnuGrid is in the process of raising another US$250,000, which it hopes to receive by the end of the first quarter.
The startup also plans geographic expansion, having integrated with MTN Liberia to enable access to that market, and also signed contracts with several other solar companies in Uganda and beyond.
“We want to focus on the off-grid solar market in Uganda and other markets, providing Solar Sentra as the bundled solution, and consolidate in-country market share and build a strong and skilled management team to take over in-country business development. We will onboard other local solar companies, scale to more countries, incorporate AI, and create a local IoT plant,” said Opio.