Sub-Saharan Africa’s share of the world’s population without electricity reached 77% in 2020, according to Reports. The average daily electricity supply in some of Africa’s largest cities is also less than 12 hours. As a result, individuals and businesses are finding other options and alternatives, such as generators, to deal with their energy issues; However, these solutions can either be expensive to use or affect the climate.
While grids and solar panels are another viable option and have compelling use cases for end consumers, there is still an opportunity to launch products aimed at power distribution companies, and this is where Manara Energy Services (BPS) plays. The energy technology company, which provides data and network management solutions to help Africa’s energy sector distribute electricity more efficiently, announced today that it has closed an initial $2.7 million round.
Founder and CEO Pembula Addis, an aerospace engineer, started the company in 2014 after working for several years at a power turbine manufacturer and as an investment banker covering the US energy sector. In an interview with TechCrunch, he said these experiences gave him exposure to the application of technology in the energy sector, and he saw an opportunity to apply this in Nigeria and across Africa.
Adisa launched the BPS station in 2014 to address the insufficient electricity supply from power distribution companies. The US and Nigeria-based utility company provides energy management and analytics software for utilities. The AI-powered grid management platform, Adora, solves one of two fundamental problems faced by power distribution companies in Africa.
The software provides real-time visibility into electric utility grid performance and connects to every utility asset and customer node on the grid, allowing power providers to anticipate outages, identify and respond to grid losses quickly, and distribute electricity more efficiently. The result is that utilities can run more efficiently, restore more revenue, and by reducing outages, customers get an increase in their electricity supply (more hours saved per day), BFS said in an email response to TechCrunch about how Adora is doing. So everyone wins.” .
The other issue focuses on data, processed by the company’s proprietary platform called the Customer and Asset Information Management System (CAIMs). Utilities in Africa struggle to maintain an accurate database of their customers, assets, and network topology (the relationship between assets and customers). CAIMs solve this by taking into account the unique conditions in which utilities operate in Africa, for example, vulnerable address systems, and help them digitize their data, which serves as the basis for network optimization.
“Africa is home to the fastest growing cities in the world, but when most people think of access to energy in Africa, they think of rural areas where there is no electricity at all. However, it is impossible for Africa to develop without significant improvement in access to electricity. and its reliability across its major cities,” the CEO of ADDISA said in a statement. “When we realized that solutions designed for mature markets were failing to address Africa’s unique infrastructure challenges, we developed a customized solution for the continent’s power companies to improve the grid’s daily electricity supply.”
Odessa told TechCrunch that BPS has grown from one facility in Nigeria to four facilities in two countries, including Ghana, covering more than 8 million customers (residential and commercial). Adesa said BPS’s business model entails working with its customers as long-term partners, not just selling products. As such, a company can defer most of the initial cost of deploying its technology in exchange for service-based payments proportional to the value it creates.
The eight-year-old power utility company says it differs from other platforms because it provides “local solutions that impact the local operating environment in Africa”. For example, most off-the-shelf solutions built for mature markets do not take into account the frequency of outages encountered in Africa or network connectivity issues encountered, but BPS claims their solutions have resolved that.
Seedstars Africa Ventures led the company’s initial seed round with participation from Persistent Energy, Kepple Africa Ventures and Factor[e] and Oridun Capital Management. Speaking about the investment, Maxime Boan, Managing Partner at Seedstars Africa Ventures, said, “As a community, we have recognized that climate change is one of the biggest threats to our generation, and it is critical that we use smart capital to support entrepreneurs across Africa who design innovative and local solutions. to meet this challenge.”
The new funding will enable BPS to improve on its existing products (product upgrades to add new features and integrate automation) and expand into new markets outside Nigeria and Ghana, where it currently operates.