Want a sneak see the electrical grid of the future? Don’t look at the US, Europe or China. Instead, head to Nigeria, where Odyssey Energy Solutions is struggling to work. There, a shaky and incomplete grid has driven many businesses and communities to invest in mini- and microgrids powered by renewable energy and able to run independently.
Odyssey is building a platform to help developers launch, build and manage distributed renewable energy projects in emerging markets such as 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 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 flows through its platform, which it uses to help investors evaluate future projects. Some of that data also helps developers get equipment for their projects, be it solar panels, inverters or other essential supplies. And at the tail end, Odyssey has software to control the energy flowing into developers’ mini- and microgrids.
When the company raised its seed last year, business was good. Odyssey co-founder and CEO Emily McAteer told TechCrunch + that her company has built a network of project developers and has a significant amount of capital in its target markets flowing into the platform. Its software products also help developers purchase supplies for small and easy management of the mini and microgrids they build. At the time, raising a Series A in short order was not in the cards.
But that changed in the following months. “We had a few proof points that we wanted to hit in the product launch, and we hit them pretty quickly,” McAteer said. Some key hires have also helped them quickly understand other pain points that Odyssey customers often experience. McAteer refers to this combination of team and product as “a springboard.”