Pawame, a UAE-based off-grid solar startup has raised $2 million as seed investment from Gulf-based investors. Founded in 2016, Pawame sells pay-as-you-go solar home systems in remote areas of Africa to those who don’t have access to grid power. The startup sells these systems on micro-finance basis, making it affordable for these households.
Some of Pawame’s investors are senior executives from the largest power utility companies of the Middle East, the company said in a statement earlier today. Originally founded in Nairobi, the startup has recently moved its headquarters to UAE.
The startup finances its smart solar kits and optional accessory devices including lights, radio, and TV, and charges the customers through their monthly subscription plan (which according to their website is $13/month) that is paid using the existing mobile subscriptions.
“We are delighted with this strong response from our investors. The funding raised will allow us to further accelerate our current growth momentum by expanding the Pawame’s footprint in Kenya and other parts of Africa,” said Alexandre Allegue, Co-founder & Chairman of Pawame. “Universal energy remains a long-term aspiration rather than a short-term reality as electricity is still out of reach for over 700 million people in Africa. The potential for Pawame to impact lives is significant, and we have already touched the lives of more than 20,000 people in Kenya by giving them access not only to lighting, but to other life enhancing services.”
Maurice Parets, CEO of Pawame, added, “Pawame’s business model is to grow sustainably, acquiring customers with its solar home system and collecting reliable data to build a trusted credit history. The company leverages customer’s credit scores as a gateway to providing families access to further life-enhancing products and services such as loans, insurance and access to TV/Internet. We are proud to be rapidly building a nationally trusted brand by providing best-in-class customer service and robust products to our customers.”
Pawame aims to use their PAYGO platform, and data to offer their existing customers more than just electricity and the accessory devices, including micro-insurance, education loans, and remote health services.
They were recently selected as semi-finalists by the MIT Enterprise Forum for the Pan-Arab Region for the Innovate for Refugees Competition for its work in one of the world’s largest refugee camp (Kakuma, Kenya).