Utilities everywhere struggle with the “last mile”, where tough landscapes, unreliable infrastructure and poor connectivity make operations difficult and costly. In the hardest to reach places, consumers go unserved, relying on fuel alternatives that cost 10 to 100x more than grid power. As a result, two billion people have little or no access to electricity.
Manchester-based SteamaCo uses smart metering technology to provide utilities via micro grids in Africa and Asia. Its technology uses less than 100kB of communications data per meter per month, which enables utilities to operate in previously unreachable locations. The potential market for such technologies is vast. Mini grids, for example, could provide electricity for up to 500 million people by 2030, according to a recent World Bank report.
SteamaCo, which also has offices in Kenya, has just raised €4.4 million in Series B funding. The funding supports the company’s continued technology development and growth, enabling reliable electricity services for hundreds of thousands of previously underserved people across 10 countries. Praetura Ventures and Shell co-led the investment round, with participation from existing shareholders.
“We are delighted to welcome Praetura and honoured to have continued participation from existing shareholders,” said Harrison Leaf, CEO and co-founder. “Tens of thousands of times each day, our product processes tariffs, monitors grid health and helps technicians, agents and consumers seamlessly go about their daily business. It is hugely motivating to everyone at SteamaCo that our work helps bring electricity to those who have never had it.”
“SteamaCo has expanded over the last two years, including deployments in Nigeria, Kenya, and India,” said Brian Davis, Shell Vice President Energy Solutions. “Through its support of mini grid operations, SteamaCo is just one example of how Shell is moving towards its ambition to deliver a reliable electricity supply to 100 million people in the developing world by 2030.”