Manchester-based SteamaCo is looking to go the “last mile” to provide electricity to the billions of people worldwide living without electricity.
By offering “the world’s most data-efficient energy management system,” the company serves as a supplier to utilities throughout Asia and Africa.
“Not so long ago, Europe and the US worked out how to electrify the countryside,” SteamaCo’s co-founder and CEO Harrison Leaf said in 2016. “Today, Africa and Asia face a similar challenge.There’s a historic opportunity to get this right, and SteamaCo is a key enabler.”
Its smart metering technology and cloud software help utilities to run effectively, as they operate on less than 100 kB of communications data per month. For the utilities, SteamaCo facilitates scalable operations, and for the end users in developing countries, the company also offers effective, reliable access to electricity.
According to a company statement from 2017, SteamaCo remotely operates hundreds of distributed energy assets for some of the world’s most technologically innovative energy businesses, including mini grid operators,off-grid retailers, grid-edge solar providers and even agricultural irrigation businesses.
“We feel there is strong logic to utilising networked solutions such as mini grids to support demand clusters, particularly where a portion of this demand is made up of businesses requiring reliable power,” said Andrew Reicher, an experienced energy investor in Africa who’s one of SteamaCo’s previous investors. “The key to mini grids to play a bigger part in meeting the energy access challenge in Africa is the smart and robust metering and control systems that are SteamaCo’s speciality.”
SteamaCo recently raised $5 million in Series B funding. Praetura Ventures and Shell co-led the funding round, joined by existing shareholders.
“We are delighted to welcome Praetura and honoured to have continued participation from existing shareholders,” Harrison said in a statement. “Automation is a key part of the historic privatisation of utilities in Africa and Asia. 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.”