Backers fuel SteamaCo to power developing countries
Jul 23, 2019
While the UK government struggles to replace every gas and electricity meter in the land in its forlorn quest to create a ‘smart’ energy grid (see Smart Meter Madness (13): Things are not getting better and predecessors), Manchester-based startup SteamaCo (no, I don’t get the name either) is actually doing something useful, developing smart meter technology that can be used in hostile terrain to bring electricity supply to remote outposts in developing countries. SteamCo’s strapline “Connect the unconnected” rather says it all. Their solution combines a smart meter that can be mounted on poles as well as in homes. The meters communicate locally using LoRa (Long Range) technology and connect to SteamaCo’s cloud via GPRS and SMS. This is claimed to be 100 times more efficient than typical domestic smart meter networks. The solution, which includes network management and billing functionality, is sold as-a-service from £35 per meter per month. SteamaCo’s technology is already deployed in Nigeria, Kenya, and India. Founded in 2012, SteamaCo raised £640k seed funding in 2016, followed by a $2.9m Series A round in 2017 led by Shell Technology Ventures. The startup has just raised a further $5m in a Series B round co-led by Shell and Manchester-based VC, Praetura Ventures. This is an innovative application of smart meter technology where it really can do good. Admirable!