MPower Ventures is a Zurich-based impact startup tackling the challenges of energy access and financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa. With a B2B model, the startup offers a combination of finance and technology to local energy suppliers allowing them to distribute solar kits on a lease-to-own basis of up to 36 months. As part of its solution, Mpower has developed the EnergyHub - a fully connected, mobile, plug and play solar container acting as a charging station for small solar generators. The locally-run EnergyHUB produces 10kW of photovoltaic power.
Barry Callebaut and Mpower provide energy to 700k farmers
Since incorporation in 2017, the company has secured nine partnerships in three countries. The company runs operations in Zambia where it deployed the first energyHub, creating four full-time jobs and positively impacted the lives of more than 500 people. In Cameroon, the startup entered a partnership with Barry Callebaut, the largest chocolate producers in the world, to offer their solar solution to more than 700'000 cocoa farmers. The Mpower team also worked with Sic Cacao, Barry Callebaut's representative in Cameroon and with the cooperatives on the ground to distribute small and medium solar kits to provide lighting for elemental energy needs to local farmers. At the end of 2019, Mpower deployed the second HUB in Togo. Plans include entering new markets such as in Ethiopia, Namibia, Botswana and Mali.
Upward growing financial curve
Mpower, with its team of 18 FTE in six countries, has also seen an upward growth curve in its financials. The company generated cumulative revenues of more than CHF 550'000 from over 2000 end customers; secured a total of CHF 2.6 million in funding, of which CHF 1,5 Mio (debt) was from the Swiss Technology Fund (DD done by Emerald Ventures) to kick off operations in Cameron and Togo. The investment also included an undisclosed amount from Innoenergy and CHF 488'000 as part of an Innosuisse innovation project in collaboration with the ZHAW and SUPSI.
New investment and a successful crowdfunding campaign
Today, Mpower has announced the receipt of an additional USD 25'000 from Energy 4 Impact, which invested in the company's ongoing crowdfunding campaign as a strategic investor. Launched two weeks ago, Mpower's equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube sought to raise £300'000 (over CHF360'000) to support market expansion and software development. The company has already exceeded the funding goal with over £318'000 (CHF378'000). Alongside Energy 4 Impact and several other backers, Mpower has also received contributions from the DFID - UK Department for International Development. The campaign will close in less than a fortnight.
Elaborating on the company's plans, Manuel Seiffe, Co-founder and CEO of Mpower said: "Demand is high, and technology costs are continuously declining. To capitalize on this opportunity, we plan to use the newly raised funds to grow sales in existing markets and enter new ones. Moreover, we will focus on enhancing our software and data solution and develop new partnerships for off-balance-sheet financing of our working capital."