OffGridBox, a provider of affordable renewable energy and clean water, has raised $1.6 million in seed funding. According to TechCrunch, the Doen and Good Energies Foundations led the round. With Banque Populaire du Rwanda as a partner.
According to the startup, their "innovative technology is a solution for more than 2 billion people worldwide that need energy and clean water on a daily basis". OffGridBox - as the name suggests - develops boxes - the size of shades - that provide both electricity and clean water.
Emiliano Cecchini and Davide Bonsignore founded OffGridBox. They started by "selling globally to individuals for off-grid living purposes" with additional development projects. "However, our founders wanted to create a significant social impact," the startup adds. That's why they chose Rwanda.
"In addition to the success of various pilot projects, Rwanda’s support for green technology and innovation made it ideal for OffGridBox to start the PayAsYouGo model."
Each box costs about $15,000 to build, and an extra $10,000 to deliver and install. The business model has an investor or investors cover the initial cost. Then receive a share of the revenue for the life of the box. At full capacity usage, this might take around two years, after which the revenue split shifts. At around $10,000 of revenue per year per box with full use, the IRR is estimated at 15 per cent.
OffGridBox is expecting to close a Series A in 2019. Together with the seed funding, the money will support the deployment of a total of 42 box installations in Rwandan communities. Though, the 42 boxes are just the beginning. They also hope to deploy as many as 1,000 throughout Rwanda. But, even then, that would only reach a fifth of the country’s off-grid market.
Last year, OffGridBox was admitted to the TechStars accelerator as part of the 2018 group. TechStars ventures ended up investing in the startup.
They have also received grants and financial support from various other organizations. This includes a $300k loan from the DOEN Foundation as well as a grant from Good Energies Foundation. On top of that, they also won $100,000 cash prize from the Mass Challenge after emerging as the 2017 winners.