A host of startups, most recently Egypt’s Interact Labs, has obtained funding commitments and expression of interest taking part so far, and the fifth episode last Thursday saw another three startups take part.
Pitched by Derrik Hosea, Uganda’s OneLamp develops and sells solar home systems. Jim Chu, chief executive officer (CEO) of UNTAPPED and organiser of The Nest, confirmed he would invest. Tharmaratnam said she was also interested, while funding commitments were received from the audience as well.
Kenyan emergency response startup Nurse in Hand received a strong expression of interest from Tharmaratnam, and also received offers of additional types of support, while Bangladesh-based Praava Health also received offers of support.
During lockdown, The Nest will take place every Thursday. When lockdown restrictions ease, Chu says it will occur once a month.
“We’ve seen the potential for this to make so many valuable connections, we are definitely going to keep it going, indefinitely,” he said.
Millions of people face immense basic supply challenges on a daily basis, which could be met by implementing appropriate technological solutions. Such solutions not only provide the chance of levelling out acute deficits but also offer diverse opportunities for independent economic activities coupled with urgently needed income.
OneLamp’s business model recognizes that extending the electricity grid to remote areas in Africa is fraught with problems. It is expensive, transport costs are high, and accessibility is difficult. In sub-Saharan Africa, grid-extension costs US$23,000 per kilometer.
OneLamp provides a lastmile same day on-demand delivery service for clean energy at the bottom of the pyramid. They enable households order solar lights by SMS, pay with mobile money and enjoy door to door delivery using an existing transport infrastructure.