Do you want a preview insight into the electricity grid of the future? Do not look to the United States, Europe or China. Instead, head to Nigeria, where Odyssey Energy Solutions has been hard at work. There, a fragile and incomplete grid has prompted many businesses and communities to invest in mini- and micro-grids powered by renewable energy and able to operate autonomously.
Odyssey has built a platform to help developers launch, build and manage distributed renewable energy projects in emerging markets like Nigeria, Kenya and Sierra Leone. These efforts helped the company raise a $5.3 million funding round last summer.
Now, just seven months later, Odyssey has closed a $15 million Series A, TechCrunch+ has learned exclusively. 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 every project that passes through its platform, which it then uses to help investors vet future projects. Some of this data also helps developers source equipment for their projects, whether it’s solar panels, inverters, or other essential supplies. And in the end, Odyssey has software to control the energy flowing through developers’ mini- and micro-grids.
When the company raised its funding round last year, business was good. Odyssey co-founder and CEO Emily McAteer told TechCrunch+ that her company has already built up a network of project developers and has significant capital in its target markets going through the platform. Its software products also helped developers to affordably source and more easily manage the mini- and micro-grids they had built. At the time, lifting a series A in a short time was not in the cards.
But that changed in the months that followed. “We had proof points that we wanted to hit when launching these products, and we kind of hit them very quickly,” McAteer said. Some key recruits also helped them quickly understand other issues frequently encountered by Odyssey customers. McAteer called this combination of team and product a “stepping stone.”