Want a sneak peek at the electrical grid of the future? Don’t look to the U.S., Europe or China. Instead, head to Nigeria, where Odyssey Energy Solutions has been hard at work. There, a shaky and incomplete grid has driven many businesses and communities to invest in mini- and microgrids that are powered by renewable energy and capable of running independently.
Odyssey has been building a platform to help developers launch, build and manage distributed renewable energy projects in emerging markets like Nigeria, Kenya and Sierra Leone. Those efforts helped the company raise a $5.3 million seed round last summer.
Now, just seven months later, Odyssey has closed a $15 million Series A, TechCrunch+ has exclusively learned. The round was led by Union Square Ventures, with participation from Equal Ventures, Twelve Below, Transition, Equator, MCJ Collective, Abstract Ventures, Founder Collective and Climate Capital.
The company collects data on each project that flows through its platform, which it then uses to help investors vet future projects. Some of that data also helps developers procure equipment for their projects, be it solar panels, inverters or other key supplies. And on the tail end, Odyssey has software to control the energy flowing through developers’ mini- and microgrids.
When the company raised its seed round last year, business was good. Odyssey co-founder and CEO Emily McAteer told TechCrunch+ that her company had already built up a network of project developers and had a significant amount of capital in its target markets flowing through the platform. Its software products were also helping developers procure supplies for less and more easily manage the mini- and microgrids that they had built. At the time, raising a Series A in short order wasn’t in the cards.
But that changed in the months that followed. “We had some proof points that we wanted to hit in launching those products, and we sort of hit them very quickly,” McAteer said. Some key hires also helped them rapidly understand some other pain points that Odyssey customers frequently experience. McAteer referred to this combination of team and product as “a springboard.”